One thing Chris and I have been very intentional about in our parenting has been to never lie to our children. This might seem like an obvious thing to do, but it is easier said than done. Yesterday, it was really put to the test.
Mr. Tumnus, though generally a nice kitty and particularly good with children, had a vengeful side. If we didn’t allow him to go outside at night he would make us ‘pay’ by refusing to use his litter box. For 6 years we had a peaceful arrangement with him. Then last week, it was brought to our attention that he had been bothering the neighbors for quite some time. We tried to keep him inside, but the first night he took it out on Bethany’s car seat and the next night on Maggie’s coat. He wasn’t adoptable because of his spite; so the options were to try to keep him inside and do a lot of extra laundry and sanitizing or owner requested euthanasia at the humane society. We chose the later.
This is the kind of situation where lying to your kids seems very very enticing. I wanted to tell them that we found a nice home with a little old lady who could pet him all day. But the truth was that mom and dad were deciding to kill the cat. How do you explain that?! The Lord truly blessed us yesterday. We told the truth and held our breath. There were many tears (from Emily anyway), but what a teaching opportunity. We talked about the Lord making all things new. We talked about His goodness and His sovereignty even over the sparrows and kittys. We talked about death being swallowed up in victory and that there is no room for fear in the hearts of God’s children. It was really beautiful when she thanked the Lord for her time with kitty and trusted that he works all things for her good. It had almost seemed foolish to tell our kids the truth, but God was faithful and we were blessed.
I do have to tell you that while Maggie did benefit from these converstaions her reaction was a bit different from her older sister’s, which is often the case. We didn’t want them to see us put Mr. Tumnus into his carrier, we thought that might be a little tramatic. After they said their goodbyes, we sent them upstairs to wait. After I left, Chris asked Maggie if she was ok, and she replied in her matter-of-fact way, “Yeah dad, I just care about humans more than cats anyway. I did really want to see how you got him in that cage though.”