Trust But Verify

Last night we learnt that our little man has taken great advantage of his parents failure to abide by the ‘trust but verify‘ rule on a subject of academic importance.  Or said differently, he lied to us and got caught out, thanks to a report I decided to glance at.

The emotional roller-coaster that followed for everyone won’t be forgotten in a hurry. He’s been fantasizing about the opportunity it opens up for him – but not putting in the necessary work recently (to his credit, he has been diligent for months prior).  His mum was hurt that he took advantage of her trust. I was disappointed in that, and worse, my failure to verify his work.  In any case, my instant response was to say “You’ve proven to us that you don’t want to, and so you won’t be taking this test.”  That triggered waves of despair for everyone, and tears enough to fill a new ocean from him. He could see, feel and hear his parents’ disappointment.

My wife has been distraught about his lying and about the opportunity that he will lose in this instance. I have been rationalising all day about my momentary stance about him not taking the test, weighing it against the consequence of actually following through. The disappointment he will feel if/when he doesn’t get through won’t last long, but will he remember how his parents felt on this day?

Choices have consequences. For everyone.