Lies My Mother Told Me


Okay, first you need to understand I’m not dissing my mother.  I love Mom and miss her dearly (she’s in heaven now).  And I know she loved me.  She was a first-rate Mom who did her very best to raise her kids right.

But she lied to me.

It wasn’t intentional.  She was trying to help, I’m sure.  She was just repeating “words of wisdom” that she had heard, maybe from her mother, who had heard them from her mother…who knows how far back they go?

They were meant to help, to comfort.  But they didn’t. 

Maybe your mom told you the same lies.

I heard the first lie when I came home from school crying because I’d been bullied on the bus.  I tried to tell Mom what had happened, but she brushed off my words impatiently as if they were of little importance.  And then she said the first lie:

“Big boys don’t cry.”

I was only seven years old, and certainly didn’t consider myself a big boy.  So the words only served to condemn me.  I wasn’t a big boy, and I’d probably never be a big boy, because when I got hurt I cried.  Crying was unacceptable, and that made me unacceptable– which only reinforced what the bullies had been saying.

And so a false belief was planted in my young psyche:  “There’s something wrong with you.”

And every time I was mistreated, every time I cried, every time I heard the lie “Big boys don’t cry,” that false belief grew and became  firmly entrenched.  I lived with that lie for years, and it took years to pull the roots out.

So it’s time to tear down that lie with the truth.  Big boys do cry.  Big men cry, too.  And that’s okay.

Don’t believe me?  Look in the Bible.  The greatest men in history wept– Joseph, David, Solomon, Peter, John– even Jesus wept.

It’s not a sin.  It’s not a weakness.  It’s a normal form of emotional release, given to us by a loving Father.  Who gave you those tear ducts in the first place?  So go ahead, it’s okay.  There’s nothing wrong with you.

Which brings us to the second lie my mother told me.

The conditions were similar to the first.  My feelings were hurt, and I was crying, and Mom said what moms have probably been saying for centuries, a cute little rhyme:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  

Yeah, cute– but a lie.

Names do hurt.  And they stick like Gorilla Glue.  Those ugly words pierce your very identity.  And they water that false belief that’s already growing within you:  “There’s something wrong with you.”   Or “You don’t belong.”  Or maybe, “You’re not good enough.”

And it must be true, of course.  Why else would they be calling you those names?

Except it’s not true. 

Because that’s not what God says about you.  He says you are loved, you are His child.  You are so precious to Him, you’re worth dying for.

So if those old names still haunt you, go to Him and ask for cleansing.  Let His truth wash away the pain and the lies.  Listen to what He is telling you.  Hear the love in His voice as He whispers your name.

And if you’ve got some work to do, some lies to tear out by the roots, He’ll be happy to help.


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4 thoughts on “Lies My Mother Told Me”

  1. I always told myself to do a better job at parenting than my own parents. I acknowledge my parents did the best they could during that time. Society sometimes dictated what parents were to do along with their past experiences and cultural living. I do have a better relationship with our children than I did with my own parents. Thank you God times have changed.

    • Thanks for your comment, Anne. Parenting really is the toughest job in the world, isn’t it?

  2. I’m always looking for “something genuine” to pin to my Pinterest board on Christian Parenting, so I just did that. You’ve caused me to examine my own parenting. I’m going to be spending some vacation time with my grown daughters next month, and I plan to ask them about this. As you indicated, our mothers repeated what they’d been told or what was “going around” during the times they were living in. However, I do believe that my own daughter, mother of three boys, has known better than to say, “Big boys don’t cry.” We’re living in times when it’s really a challenge to raise children, but a few things, such as this don’t-cry adage for boys, have improved. Thank you for your excellent article.

    • I appreciate your comment, Rosemary. I hesitated to write this post because I don’t want people to think I’m bashing my parents. They did their best, but their children (me included!) didn’t come with an instruction manual. I just wanted to create awareness that some “proverbial wisdom” really needs to be questioned.


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