What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Andrea.
My husband has told me that I am the most honest person he knows. I take that as a huge compliment, for that is exactly what I strive to be. Honesty, though not always the easiest way, is always the best way. And with honesty comes trust and credibility, which are necessary foundations for any relationship, be it personal or professional.
That said, it is so hard for me to send my child out into the world knowing there are people out there who will do her the disservice of being less than truthful. That there are people who will hurt her to make themselves feel better, or to cover up their mistake. I believe that sometimes when people lie about one small thing, it can and often does snowball into a story where the truth and lie cross and weave and are almost indecipherable.
Sometimes it would seem that dishonesty is the easiest way out of a situation, and it may even seem to save some from being hurt. And sometimes it does do that. But doesn’t the old saying “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” come into play here? Telling people what they want to hear, whether there is truth to it or not is wrong. Making up a whole story as an excuse is not only showing you are not to be trusted, but it tells your listener, your friend, whoever you’re talking to, that you think they are less than intelligent to fall for your deception, and that you do not value and respect them. Think about that. If you tell a child you will do something, knowing full well it will not happen, then you are sending messages to that child that their time is not valuable, that their feelings are invalid, and that they are vulnerable and even ignorant. And you are sending the message it’s ok to lie to keep from getting in trouble. Even worse!
In my home we have a very open and honest family relationship. We do keep information age appropriate, and there are definitely things such as finances that kids do not need to be burdened with, of course. Obviously there are subjects that do not need to be discussed. But when my child asked my husband (when she was only 4 and he was not yet my husband) where babies come from he knew he had to be honest with her, as that is my policy and his too. So he did his very best (which I must say was great!) and explained to her that a seed is planted in the mommy, and then it grows in her tummy and becomes a baby. And for her innocent 4 year old mind that was enough. So there was an honest conversation that was age appropriate and no deception needed. He did not say the stork delivered her, and he did not say go ask your mom. Instead he showed my daughter that he can be trusted, and he laid another brick in a strong foundation for an open honest relationship.
Some people are amazed that my daughter knows she is adopted, and that we are so open about it. But to me, I don’t know any other way. I would not want my child to “find out” later in life that she is adopted and realize that I, as her mother, have lied to her her entire life, that I am capable of being deceitful to her. I would not want to break that trust she has in me. I want her to know that I’m proud of her, of who she is, and of how she came to be with me. I want her to know with all her heart that she can trust me, that I will always be looking out for her best interest, and that I will always tell her the truth. I want her to know that even though the truth may sometimes be the harder way in a situation at that moment, it is the best way. I want her to trust me to work through trials and hurts with her, knowing that standing on her principles and values, good will prevail.
I am sending my daughter out into this crazy world with hopes and dreams and trust! Trust! Trust in the good in the world! So if you are a person I have entrusted my daughter’s hopes and dreams to, if you are someone I have chosen to help mold her into the person God has planned for her to be, then please, please, I beg you, don’t shatter her heart by being less than truthful. By covering up the truth to avoid looking bad in her eyes. Please keep this in mind for all of our children. Because you know what? When children realize you are capable of lying to them, they learn very quickly they can’t trust you. And when they realize a family member, a teacher, a coach, a friend, cannot be trusted then they begin to question who they can trust. Not only does the person who did the injustice of lying look bad, but so do other people in a same or similar role. Or even worse, the child will believe that if this influential person in their life lies and “gets away” with it, then it must be ok, right? Wrong! Please don’t ever teach my child that lesson. Please help me show her that honesty really is the best policy. It may not always be the easiest way, but it truly is what is right, what is fair, and what people deserve. Be the good in the world for my child, for our children.