Because It’s Not True
As a mom I’ve been wrong. I proved it.
A few years back my younger son was studying the space program. I told him that an Apollo 13 astronaut radioed to NASA headquarters on earth, “Houston, we have a problem.” My son disagreed. He was sure the astronaut had said something else.
Certain that I was correct, I offered to look it up. You know, to reveal the truth, my truth. I just knew I was right. I’d heard the line so many times.
After my research was completed, I called my son over and told him that it had taken me a while to find the original NASA transcripts online. I wasn’t going to trust this to Wikipedia. I had a point to prove and needed reliable documentation, not IMDB.
From the NASA site, we listened to the original transmission, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” Then I showed him the second source, on a .gov site, that had the printed transcript, ‘Houston, we’ve had a problem.’ Clearly it was in the past tense! In fact, past perfect.
The reality was that I was wrong, and I acknowledged it to him. I told him that prior to learning the truth, I would have bet all the cash in my purse on what I believed to be true! I watched him watching me as I thanked him, gratefully because I learned something that I never would have questioned. It was a relief.
It ended up being a big moment as something happened I hadn’t foreseen.
Now at our house, whenever uncertainty arises, skepticism and curiosity follow. My sons run to find a charged device to search for primary sources to distinguish fact from opinion or popularity. They have fact checked farmed raised salmon, cell provider charges, and now that, Parker, my older son will be voting next fall, he’s identifying what’s true and not in the political world.
I can tell you that they think much more critically than before the ‘night of truth,’ as we call my Apollo 13 awakening. I like that it sparked them to be bold and relentless in their quest for truth.
I am coaching some very cool adolescents this summer. Each one is amazing. Here is one’s story about being bullied.
A few of his classmates called him “goat” the year before. He hated it. He felt picked on, embarrassed, and helpless. Some relief came when his teachers stepped in, and the using counselor’s tips to ignore them, walk away, and start talking to someone nearby. Avoidance helped, but even so, the name calling still stung. He was shaken and his feelings were hurt, for it was unprovoked and intentionally mean.
You might be interested in knowing that this young man holds his own in every other way. He is sought after to be in learning groups because he is funny and a brilliant problem solver. Close to earning his black belt in Taekwondo, he also plays the trumpet and has a dog. At home he can be relied on to mow the lawn and keep his room clean, sort of.
The remarkable thing about him it that he learned how to not be sensitive to or influenced by comments from peers not in his circle of friends.
I asked him how he’d let it go. A few months after, he overheard his mom encouraging a co-worker to not let gossip about her bother her because it wasn’t true. She said it’s meaningless because they aren’t your friends. He said the more he thought it, it made sense for him. He wasn’t a goat. And why should he care what kids who weren’t his friends said. It really was pointless.
I told him I admire his decision to sort out his emotions and not assign value to untruths. With a confident smile, he said he’s liking every day a lot more now.
He’s right, you know. We, like our kids, can get really caught up in negative thinking. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Thanks for all you do,