When I was younger I remember making up things. Exaggerating. Pretending to know things I did not know. And spouting off about things, digging a hole for myself I sometimes could not get out of. I see now, clearly, that that was my insecurity speaking. I was afraid of the truth of the matter. That I didn’t know something. Or that I would look stupid. Or that I was worthless as a person. No, really. My childhood ears were filled with words from authorities around me that implied and outright told me that I was full of crap. And that was before I started making up things. Making up things was a way to try to stem the tide of the ever increasing idea that maybe they were right, I didn’t know anything. I was stupid.
Making up things, lying, exaggerating, whether you are a kid or an adult, is a way of hiding. Of hiding behind ideas and words and attitudes that feel safer than the real ones. Admitting you don’t know something is tough because in the wrong company we run the risk of being made fun of.
Admitting who we really are, and encouraging our children to do the same, is a gift because we cannot move ahead in life, or grow as people, if we hide behind made up ideas and silly postures. Kids need permission to not know. We all do. No one can have all the answers all the time. Telling kids they are stupid, or bullying them inspires a reaction like the one I had…to try desperately to seem to know it all.