How often do we protest, “It’s not my fault,” both loudly with our tongues and silently in our hearts? Why do we hide our faults? And what if we quit protecting them, and started celebrating them?
“It’s not my fault!”
The most popular phrase in our house.
My son has just accidentally opened the refrigerator door into the dishwasher door, which was hanging ajar, knocking the dishwasher backward, off the hardwood and onto the subflooring. It becomes a box of crashing porcelain and before I have a chance to say anything, he is denying responsibility.
I stare at him blankly, at a loss for words. I watched it happen. I saw him throw one door into another. Either he thinks I’m blind, or there’s more to his denial than meets the eye.
There’s more to his denial than meets the eye.
He’s seven and, already, he has scars.
When he declares, “It’s not my fault!” with his chin out and his eyes a little scared, he’s not saying he didn’t do it. Of course he did it. What he’s doing is fighting not to be wounded again. He’s asking to be absolved of the emotional consequences of his mistake. He’s saying, “I didn’t do it on purpose, so please don’t blame me or shame me or reject me or leave me feeling alone.”
The thesaurus lists these synonyms for fault: defect, error, evil doing, failing, flaw, frailty, guilt, liability, misconduct, misdeed, negligence, offence, transgression, vice, wrongdoing. Is it any wonder our kids deny responsibility for their innocent mistakes?
Is it any wonder we adults do the same?
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