As children, were there times when you did something you either knew you shouldn’t or had done accidently? As you stood there, your heart pounding knowing you were in BIG trouble, did you turn to your siblings or friends and say, “Don’t tell my mom and dad!”?

While I was mostly a good girl, I said that a time or two. I became a little more prevalent as I got older. I also heard it from my friends when we were out playing or goofing off somewhere. It’s a handy phrase that was sometimes overused. It was easier to stay out of trouble than to worry about whether my parents would hear it, but we didn’t let that stop of from exploring new way to do things.

When I became a mother, I was shocked to learn that my children said it each other and their friends. Hearing don’t-tell-Mom from the other side of the equation is more frightening. The phrase might have saved me a few gray hairs earlier in life, but I’ll never know. Occasionally someone would spill the beans, I’d hear about the offense. When I’d confront the offender, his or her first words were, “Who told you?” Like that mattered. From my perspective, all that mattered was I found out and what was I going to do about it.

Even Hubby was guilty of using that phrase, like the time he and our son were going to Walmart in our Landcruiser. Hubby backed over one of our decorative evergreens and thought he broke it. I heard the noise and looked out the window in time to see them driving off with the tree stuck to their back bumper. They were both looking at house and I could most read hubby’s lips, “don’t tell Mom what we did.” Mom already knew and was having a big laugh about it. After they got to Walmart and saw the tree stuck to the back, they knew they’d been caught red-handed.

The familiar phrase has slowly morphed into “Don’t tell the kids.” When they were growing up, we might save up to take them somewhere, but we didn’t want to tell them too soon, so we’d whisper the phrase between the two of us. If we were going somewhere they wanted to go, but we wanted to go without them, out the phrase came again. It came in very handy.

As we get older, Hubby and I find ourselves saying, “Don’t tell the kids”, but for a different reason. We say it after we forget where we put things and find them “unusual” places. Or we forget what we were doing or where we were going. I suppose our fear is our kids will come haul us off to a home somewhere. While that day is coming fast, we don’t want to hurry it along.

Two don’t-tell-the-kids occasions happened this past week. Hubby went to a HOA gathering and visited with some nice folks from our neighborhood. One man looked familiar but couldn’t remember his name. When he asked, the man turned out to be Hubby’s doctor who he has seen dozens of times since we moved here. He knew Hubby, but Hubby had never seen his doctor’s face without a mask on. Everyone had a good laugh about it, but after he got home, he said, “Don’t tell the kids.”

I also had my don’t-tell-the-kids moment. I was frying hamburgers in my good tee shirt. The meat popped out grease on my shirt. I was so mad at myself because I wasn’t wearing an apron. After we ate, I tried to wash out the grease, put pre-wash on it, and washed it. When I got it out of the washer, the spot was better but not gone. As I hung it up, I realized I had been wearing the shirt backward, so the grease stain was on the back, not the front. I was very relieved. Maybe people won’t notice it there. Hubby and I laughed about it and said, “Don’t tell the kids.”

Think about it the next time you say, “Don’t tell __________.” You may hide what you’ve done, but eventually someone will find out.

For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it be good or evil. Ecclesiates 12:14 (I hope some of it will give Him a good laugh.)

One Response

  1. Indeed we have our don’t tells. Sometimes it was just amazing to be told about our, we did no harm and we won’t get caught many months after it happened. In our motorcycle days the kids would ask to go someplace that sounded fishy. We would take advantage of paths for walking and alleys to zip around and track them. Take a few pictures of them out of place zip back home and have conversations pieces for the dinner table. We had good kids that grew up to be good adults. Among the many jobs of parents is to protect their young. I had many events that were don’t tell for my protection. I did not want to loose my privileges.

    Now it is don’t tell the kids or don’t tell the parents or family about hardship or sickness as long as we can. We don’t want to share our burdens or put worrying on our loved ones.

    When I look around and see society I have to wonder if perhaps we told more when we were young, would we be a better people.

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