Teaching Integrity To A 10-Year Old

As a mother, I’ve learned that some of the sweetest times with my boys are at bedtime.  They always want me to lay down with them and either sing or tell them stories, followed up by a prayer that brings them comfort before they doze off. And I do.  The nights are rare that I don’t spend 10-15 minutes going back and forth between their rooms because they need to give me just one more kiss and a hug.  I wouldn’t miss these moments for the world.  Or for all the tea in China, you understand. One particular night, my oldest son, Noah, and I were talking.  It’s times like these that I get a glimpse into his heart and mind.  I hear about his joys, his sorrows, his struggles, his fears.  I use these quiet moments to teach him different character qualities that I’d love to see developed in his life.  He’s opens his heart to me because he trusts me.  Here is how our conversation went recently:
Me:  Do you know what integrity means? Noah:  Um, like who you are inside? Me:  Yeah, but also who you are when no one is watching. Noah:  Oh. Me:  You have integrity if you do the same things in private that you do in public.  Like, if you are only picking up trash somewhere so that someone will notice but you don’t do it when no one’s around.  Make sense? Noah:  So, it’s when you are yourself.  All the time. Me:  Pretty much.  You know how sometimes I am really nice to you when other people are around and then maybe I am grouchy to you when they are not? Noah:  Yeah, like when you yell sometimes when no one is around but then give me hugs when friends are over? Me:  (taking a big gulp) Yeah.  Like that.  I hate that I do that and I want you to know that the reason I do that is because I want people to think I’m a great mom.  And I’ve been wrong.  What I really want is for YOU to think I’m a great mom.  And I’m sorry.  I will be working on this. Noah:  You are a great mom.  You’re the best mom.  Can we go swimming tomorrow?
We moms and dads are all tired at bedtime.  I’m up early in the mornings so when 9:00 rolls around, I’m a goner.  But, for the sakes of your kiddos, get in all the time you can.  Because one day you won’t be tucking them in anymore. And you’ll miss it. I just know it.

10 thoughts on “Teaching Integrity To A 10-Year Old”

  1. “Noah: So, it’s when you are yourself. All the time.” I wonder who he thinks he is when he’s not himself? So, are you taking him swimming tomorrow? (grin)
    The way children forgive their parents anything we think we are guilty of is amazing, isn’t it? What’s that phrase you aliens use a lot? Oh yeah, as far as the east is from the west.

  2. OH man, that’s good. I’ve felt the sting from being aware of my own lack of integrity when it comes to my kids. Great insight. Great story. Great kid. Great, now I gotta go repent.

  3. Soon enough the teen years roll around and they remember every single thing you’ve done TO them rather than FOR them. Unfortunately, my 19-year-old has inherited or learned my ability to hold a grudge — hope he doesn’t wait until he’s in his 40s to try to unlearn it!

    “Because one day you won’t be tucking them in anymore.

    And you’ll miss it.

    I just know it.”

    I miss those days like you have with your kids. I’m so happy that you’re smart enough to realize what a blessing this time is.

  4. We seem to have these types of sweet times when they are waking up in the morning. Love it.

    At night they are all about David. He spends forever on the back and forth. Riley always wants him to tell her a new joke in bed and sometimes I hear him racing down the stairs and I find him at the computer frantically searching “kid jokes.” So sweet.

    You are a great mom, cindybeall. A really great mom.

  5. I WISH I had some of those bedtimes back so that I could love on my 2 children some more! I missed some great times of lovin’ on them because I was too busy or too tired! But…they still love me…even through all my flaws!! Grab all the time you can with your little ones…you’ll never regret the time that you spend with them!!

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