"The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death." Proverbs 21:6
One Sunday morning, the entire family participated in the 7AM mass in our parish church. When inside the church my youngest daughter Leyan and her Ate Belle became restless. Fearing that the other churchgoers would be distracted from the mass I gave both of them a stern look. Immediately they settled. But several minutes later they disappeared.
“Papa this is for you.”
However, instead of returning the gesture I frowned at them and chided them quickly.
They put their flowers on the pew in front of me, and went back to their seats subdued.
Feeling triumphant in suppressing the rebellion I refocused my mind back to the mass.
Were my two daughters really rebelling or was there something else that I missed?
The truth is simple; it is not complicated. And instead of digging for it oftentimes we go the easy way.
Looking back at the church incident, I now realized how far I was from the truth. What really happened was that my two girls were bored with the going on inside the church – this was reflected by their restlessness – since they could not see the significance of ceremony. They would rather be somewhere else.
A child who is out-of-sight of his/her parents could do anything his/her heart’s desire.
My two girls could have played hide-and-seek or chase each other to drive their boredom away, but instead they chose to pick grass flowers for their father (and mother) expecting to make me happy with their gesture. Why?
But I missed the simple meaning of their gestures because I was distracted by my fear of being regarded as a loose father by the people in the church, and of losing my hold on my children. This complicated matters. And in that moment, I chose to lose my temper which was easier to do than digging patiently for the simple truth behind the distractions.
The truth is naked, but we like to dress it up so that even if it’s right under our nose, we often miss it.
My fears hid the naked truth – that my children loved me; in our culture giving flowers is an act of love – which caused me to misinterpret their actions and led me to the wrong reaction without even realizing it until later. But it was too late. Their feelings were hurt, and our relationship a little bit strained.
(Luckily for me, they were still young which means they didn’t hold a grudge for a long time towards their erroneous father, so I was able to make it up with them later. But I could not allow myself to easily fall into this trap because it could get worse next time.)