Sunday afternoons were spent at my great-grandparents’ house. Coming from a large family, it wasn’t unusual for there to be anywhere from six to thirty-six relatives there. On this particular day, the crowd was slim and I was the youngest one there—three or four years old. My grandpa, great-grandpa, and two or three of my great-uncles were sitting on the front porch visiting and the women were in the living room of the house doing the same.
Bored by all the ‘grownup talk’, I hopped off my grandpa’s lap and went to play in the back yard. But on my way I encountered a really big black snake. I knew enough to turn around and run back to the house—in the back door and straight to Granny. When I told her there was a giant snake outside she didn’t believe me. I told her again. She still didn’t believe me. It was highly unusual for Granny to not believe me. I think the fact that I was liberally using the word ‘giant’ may have had something to do with her skepticism.
Realizing I wasn’t getting anywhere, I went outside and told my grandpa. He questioned my use of the word giant, too, but asked me where it was. Finally! Gee, it wasn’t like I was the little boy who cried wolf. Why was this so hard? Taking his hand, I told him I would show him. Then turning to my great-grandpa I asked him if he wanted to see the giant snake, too. He grinned, nodded his head, and stood up to follow me.
We didn’t have to go far, though, because the snake had decided to pay his respects and was now making his way onto the porch! Hopping up and down I started squealing, “I told you! I told you there was a giant snake
The next thing I knew my great-grandpa was ‘taking care’ of the snake with the garden hoe propped up against the house on the porch and all the commotion brought Granny and the others outside—where they saw the giant snake.
Once the commotion died down you can be sure a few apologies came my way for not believing me. But hey, it wasn't like I was in the habit of telling big ole whopper-lies, so it was the least they could do, right?
Have you ever ignored or not believed your child when they were trying to tell you something? I sure hope not, because I can tell you first-hand that being ignored or given the ‘brush off’ when you have something important to share is agonizing. It could also be dangerous. That black snake could have been a copperhead and your child’s story about the mean boy or girl, the creepy or unfair coach/teacher, the scary neighbor, or the cries that no one likes them should be heard, listened to, and acted upon.
Remember…always believe in your child unless they give you obvious and undeniable reasons not to. Believing what your child tells you should always be your initial response. If you don’t, they’ll quit talking. And I don’t think I have to tell you how dangerous (and sad) that would be.
P.S. Just for the record, it really was a giant snake.
Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.