5-year-old son: Mom, he hit me with his backpack!
Me: Did you hit your brother?
11-year-old son: No.
5-year-old: Yes, he did! He did!
Me (in calm and patient voice): Let me ask you again. Did you hit your brother with your backpack?
Me (not so calm): I need you to tell the truth, here. Did you hit him?
11-year-old: No. I didn’t hit him.
Me (getting it): Oh. Okay, then. You didn’t hit him. What did you do?
11-year-old: I swung my backpack over him.
Me: Did your backpack hit him?
It took another 45 minutes to convince my son that playing with semantics is a sure way to drive his mother crazy. I think he should have said he was sorry, hence solving the whole problem. His view is that since he didn’t mean to hit his brother with the backpack (not totally, anyway), he shouldn’t have to say he’s sorry . . . or admit that he hit his brother, especially since the 5-year-old teased him first (about—it’s horrifying—a girl!).
Hey, I’m a fan of intentions. I have lots of good ones. But actions count, too. Don’t they?
We know about evil intentions and the subsequent evil works which follow:
“For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
“For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
“For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.” (Moroni 7:6-8)
We also know about good works signifying good motivations:
“. . . for if their works be good, then they are good also” (Moroni 7:5).
What about my son? Medium-ish intention, poor consequence? Should he have to say he’s sorry?
[my son approved this post on the condition that I insert his answer. I quote, “NEVER!!!!!!!!!!”]