So yesterday my 4 yr old told me that I was stinky. He was right. It was 8.30am, I’d been drinking prosecco the previous evening and was feeling a tad delicate.
He wasn’t silly about it, just very matter of fact and agreed a shower would be good (he was right again, I felt a lot better after).
Now why aren’t adults (and young people) honest without being unkind about those sorts of things. Is it fear of embarrassing the other person – which is kind too I suppose?
When do we learn that complete honesty isn’t necessarily “right”?
The 7 yr old hasn’t completely learned that lesson. We were out for curry with friends, they got his order wrong and had to go back and fix it. When ask how his meal was he judged the whole experience as “the worst meal ever” (wrong, I’ve cooked much worse). He’s enjoyed the food but was upset that he felt they hadn’t listened to him when he ordered. We told him off at the time for being rude and unkind. But now I’m wondering if he was just speaking his truth and that should be respected, maybe gently discussed to make him think about whether he was fair or answering a different question.
I think as we grow up, feeling that we can’t speak our true thoughts can be constraining and learning the rules, making mistakes and dealing with the consequences of such honesty can bring enormous pressure. I know I hate disagreeing with people, it’s incredibly uncomfortable for me to be in an argument and I wish I coped better with conflict. Having a different opinion or experience isn t a bad thing on the whole. Variety is good, debate brings innovation and should breed respect if those involved are flexible, open to understand others and learn.
The only person I can argue with and stand up for myself with is my husband. It’s something I value very highly, we trust each other enough to speak honestly, disagree and come to a compromise (mostly) without harming our relationship. I wish I could do that with other people but I just struggle with trusting them – maybe I’ll talk about why another time (just petty friend trouble, nothing serious).
As usual I don’t really know where I’m going. I guess I wish we were all a bit more like the 4yr olds: honest, accepting, ready to change our minds at any moment. Maybe that’s too much to ask.
Instead of honesty we should aim to speak honestly – no pandering to others, if it’s not true don’t say it but don’t speak the absolute truth either if it might be hurtful.