Updated: Jan 14
I had one of those talks with my 8 year old daughter today that was powerful and blog-worthy. (I have to admit; I joke that I should have a sign on our door that states, “Anything and everything you say may be used in a blog post!”) My daughter came to me and asked “Mom, do you keep secrets from me?” And so the talk began… I stopped what I was doing and we had a good discussion about perspective, honesty, and the challenge of a parent to protect yet be truthful. Our parenting style has been one of transparency from the beginning. I can’t say there is a secret I have held from our kids, of course we discuss it in an age appropriate manner and share with respect and open dialogue, but we do talk about everything, the scary, the sad, the confusing, and the wonderful. When I was diagnosed with cancer it never occurred to me not to share this with my girls (at the time 7 & 5). I used it as an opportunity to show them that cancer is something that, despite being scary, is a chance to face your fears, lean into your support, and recognize your strength. I saw my cancer as a positive and if they could walk away from that experience not so fearful of the “C” word, than we were successful. Being truthful is not always comfortable or easy but it does release you from the knot in your stomach that comes with continual small un-truths. Why do we so often assume that the other person can’t handle the truth? That they are so young, incapable, busy, preoccupied to deal with what is going on? When it comes to kids, I believe we unconsciously “dumb them down”, if you raise them with honesty, transparency, and take the time to really talk to them, it is amazing the conversations and connections you can have at a very young age. Children are capable, strong and resilient that, if given the opportunity, will rise. My girls, I am happy to say, are not afraid of cancer, they also do not spend energy worrying if there is something going on with me and my health that I am not telling them. I have allowed them to release the fear that would have come if I had not been honest. I challenge you to start building your relationships on full transparency, on vulnerability, and the realization that we are all flawed humans. Our fears and challenges are the same things that will draw our connection and build strength of relationship and trust. Free your self and let it go.