Today, while I was sorting laundry, he came running into the room and stood and looked at me. I stopped what I was doing to see what he needed.
After a bit of a pause he said, "I broke the frame with the picture of me and dad when I was a baby. I stored the pieces under my bed." Then, with big eyes he looked at me and said, "mom, what does forgive mean?"
I have to give him credit for throwing that last statement in there. He knows I'm a softy and that would ensure he wouldn't get in too much trouble.
I know he had put some thought into whether or not he should say anything. You don't hide a broken frame under your bed if you planned on accepting responsibility from the beginning.
He recently ripped one of his wall decals while trying to move it. I found it wrinkled up in his closet afterward. We had a long talk about how being honest is a better way to go; that you'll usually end up in less trouble for something than if you lie about it first. I'm glad he decided to fess up about the frame.
I asked him to go under his bed to collect the pieces. While he was under there, he said, "mom, aren't you glad I was honest?" He really does know exactly what to say to me.
We sat down and talked about what happened. I thanked him for honest and told him he needed to be more careful.
He and I have also been having discussions about how his actions affect other people. I told him that, because he was not careful (he was jumping on his bed and knocked the frame off his nightstand), he no longer had a picture of him and dad in his room. I also told him I was disappointed because it was a special frame I picked out before he was born. He apologized again.
I know he knew what forgive meant when he asked, and I'm sure he was trying to ensure I didn't get too upset about the frame, but I hope he also learned something from my example.
I hope that he continues to let us know when he makes mistakes, big or small, so that we can help him learn from them. Someday we won't be right there to provide guidance. I hope these lessons stick with him.