When I first heard my momma say–“Don’t send me to battle without any armor”, she was recounting a story about my brother when he was 15 years old. She was going to have to defend his actions and the seriousness of the situation required her to know the truth and nothing but the truth! I laughed when she said it because it was such an interesting way to tell a kid that–“Now is not the time to play games.”
As my daughter entered into pre-teendom, she began to hone her “story-telling” skills (Nice way to say she was lyin’!) and she began to have issues at home and school. She would make up stories just to make them up and as I began to receive calls from school administrators about her alleged disregard for rules and emails from teachers regarding missing assignments, I began to have to respond to the allegations against her and I found myself putting a twist on my mother’s saying about being sent to fight with no armor but mine became–“Don’t have me in here defending you…and you did it! It’s time for you to tell the truth!”
This went on through almost the entire 7th grade year and after hours of talking (yelling) and not giving up (showing my ass) , I began to see a breakthrough in how she responded when asked a question that required truthfulness. I had to laugh because I could actually see the wheels turning in her head as she thought about her options and ultimately chose to go with the truth when faced with her alternative option which was having to deal with me.
As a parent to a now teenager, I have to discern whether or not she is telling me the truth everyday (I’m no idiot!) and everyday, she has to make the decision on whether or not she is going to tell the truth but what has been accomplished through the many hours of relentless discussions and reminders is that she knows when it is time to go to battle she’d better not have me suit up with faulty information!
“Straighten up your face!”, said in a very forceful manner. Oh, I heard this a lot! We all know the look too. Your mother asks you to do something you don’t want to do and your face crinkles up, your lips launch into smacking position and just as you are primed to give your best imitation of “the disgruntled teenager”, your mother hits you with the words that you know mean you are about to get it and you quickly remember yourself. This scenario played out many times in my teenage career and when my daughter hit thirteen and her crooked faced alter ego made its appearance, I found myself uttering those words more and more.
In life, when you walk around with your face scrunched up and your lips turned out the person who loses is you. No one wants to hang around a person who presents themselves in an unapproachable manner and no one wants to hire a person who projects an image of disdain. Just because you don’t like what someone has to say, doesn’t mean you have the right walk around looking any which way. Straightening up your face teaches you respect and as an adult, it will give you the ability to further your career and in the end, you don’t want your money to be affected because no one ever told you to straighten up your face!