| from Lauren Roman |
Have you noticed that a child who’s done something wrong can try to cover it up and/or escape responsibility without any training? If you haven’t, you may want to pay closer attention! Of course, it doesn’t apply every time a child does something wrong. But covering, hiding, denying, excusing, blaming – these tactics come naturally to human beings at a young age.
It shouldn’t surprise us that “covering up” is a natural reflex reaction to our mistakes.
It takes courage to own up and apologize when we’ve done something wrong. That’s true for children and adults alike! The experience of owning up is unpleasant at best, potentially catastrophic at worst – depending on the nature of the situation. But our reflexive desire to cover mistakes runs much deeper than simply wanting to avoid discomfort or negative consequences.
Our cover-up instinct goes back to Adam, Eve, and Original Sin.
When Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened – they realized their nakedness and felt shame. Their instinctual reaction was to cover themselves. When they heard God in the garden, they were afraid and hid from Him.
God called them out, questioned their actions – and they both turned to blame.
Adam blamed Eve. He indirectly blamed God Himself, by answering that “The woman You put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree…” [Gen. 3:12, emphasis added]. Eve blamed the serpent, specifying that “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” [Gen. 3:13, emphasis added]. The serpent didn’t just offer the fruit or encourage her to eat it, he tricked her! So it wasn’t really her fault…
As we know, Adam and Eve’s attempts to deny culpability proved woefully ineffective. Every individual is ultimately responsible for his or her decisions and actions.
It benefits every child to learn the concept of personal responsibility early in life!
Parents need to model this habit of taking responsibility and owning up to their shortcomings. Bible teacher and bestselling author Jennie Allen recently said that much of her most valuable parenting has arisen from her “failures” as a mom! The times she has apologized to her kids – e.g., after losing her temper – became teachable moments that have had the greatest positive impact on their character.
Parents must demonstrate this practice of apologizing for mistakes. It requires humility – especially when apologizing to their children! This goes hand-in-hand with the humility it takes for parents to admit they need help.
Contrary to popular belief, parents don’t need to appear omniscient or omnipotent for children to respect them!
In a recent commercial for a smart home device, a girl doing homework asks her dad for help. He secretly whispers the question to the device, gets the answer, and tells his daughter. This all happens so quickly that he successfully passes the answer off as his own. Aww. Isn’t it cute that his little girl admires her super-smart dad?
No! It’s not cute. It’s amusing enough to serve the ad’s purpose – but it’s also a cautionary tale about the lure of technological superpowers! This scenario plays right into the technology lies Dr. Kathy lays out in Screens and Teens, especially Lie #5: Information Is All That Matters So I Don’t Need Teachers.
We teach our kids the importance of teachers by being teachable!
Instead of covering his ignorance to impress his daughter, this dad could turn her question into a teachable, relational moment. He could sit beside her and say, “I’m not sure, but let’s look it up and find the answer together.” That scenario wouldn’t work at all for the ad. But, in real life, it would better serve both daughter and dad.
Let’s exercise humility by confessing mistakes and apologizing, instead of covering up. Let’s model vulnerability by owning up when we don’t have all the answers – asking for help when we need it.
Children need to learn that owning up is always better than covering up.
If you need to strengthen this habit yourself, it’s never too late, at any age. Let go of your crutches and cover-ups, lay down your pride, and start today!
Author Lauren Roman is a creative communicator, truth teller, and enthusiastic encourager who captivates audiences of all kinds. Her eclectic career began in her teens with a starring role on the ABC soap All My Children, continued with more TV and film (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nashville, Grace Unplugged), and now encompasses speaking, singing, and writing. Lauren inspires others toward true identity and freedom in Christ, sharing from her own journey as a “recovering perfectionist” with bold transparency, emotion, humor, and practical biblical insights. Uniting ladies of all ages and life stages, she addresses tough topics like recovery, food/body image issues, sexual integrity, identity/self-acceptance, and mental health, sparking important multi-generational conversations. For the past decade, Lauren has delivered impactful keynotes for women, youth, and pro-life ministry events. Her messages reach thousands of parents and families through her role as a Celebrate Kids Associate Writer and Speaker. A lifelong poet, Lauren is thrilled to launch her debut children’s book Think Good, Be Good! in 2021. For more information or to schedule Lauren for your next live or virtual event, please visit: laurenroman.com.