What character trait do you value most highly in another person? Courage? Self-control? Compassion? For me, the answer is honesty. As a child of divorce, I recall being endlessly grilled by one parent or the other: Is your dad hiding money so he doesn’t have to pay child support? Is your mom leaving you home alone while she works?
My life was a balancing act–I had to keep my parents in balance so they wouldn’t destroy each other! Now don’t get all Department of Children and Family Services on me! I’m talking about the havoc one misspoken word can wreak, catapulting a parent into a hurricane funnel, while a child runs for cover!
Perhaps you’ve been there? Managing your parents, when they should be managing you? Trying so hard to be the perfect child that honesty summersaults out the window.
I was newly married and in my twenties when my mother passed away. I asked my father, “Was all that stuff you told me about mom true?” He shrugged. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
It was then that I decided to break the rules and tell the truth like my life depended on it. Wait, my life does depend on it. If you’ve got ADD, you better admit it so people will understand why you pose endless questions. If you sing, dance, write, and play piano, you better tell the truth so you can shine your soul instead of squeezing your talents into a Tupperware bowl because some people are jealous of your talents. And if you want to help the world thrive, you better be honest so you can connect with others who share your goals.
Dirty little secret about honesty? It takes commitment. Like phoning a friend back when you say you will. Like promptly responding to texts and emails when you’ve promised to do so. For those of you who mouth the words, then leave the sender hanging because it’s a bummer to respond, shame on you.
Honesty can be inconvenient, it requires commitment. I changed. So can you! From now on, let us each commit to one another, following through on our promises, no matter if it is only a text or email.
Honesty. The only policy.