Candid Chatter

Just Say It

Honesty October 9, 2009

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 6:42 pm

Are you always honest? Can you tell the truth even when the truth hurts?

Not me.

I strive to be as honest as possible — sometimes to a fault. But, there are times when I decide it is better to lie than to tell the truth. I decide this when I think the truth will hurt someone.

I explained to my kids about eating healthy foods and why we try to do this as often as possible. If their diet was left up to them, they would eat nothing but McDonalds and candy and ice cream.

I avoided the word “fat” for a long time. Finally, the other day in the car, I explained what “fat” meant.  I used examples of people they know so they would understand the physique of a healthy person vs. the physique of an unhealthy person… a fat person, if you will.

Well, I try very hard to be honest with my kids. I am of the belief that if they catch me lying to them about one thing, then why should they believe me with anything else. I want them to trust me entirely.

A few days later, we were at the dollar store. Standing in line, two people in front of us, was a woman who was obese. My normally quiet and reserved 5 year old daughter suddenly piped up.
“Mom, is that lady fat?”

Ugh!

The guy in front of me and behind the “fat” lady chuckled under his breath. I was not chuckling. I was mortified. I shushed my daughter which made her cry. She wasn’t intentionally being mean or rude. She was asking me a matter of fact question about what I had just taught her a few days before.

Ugh!

The lady ignored us, but I’d bet $100 that she heard my little girl. I am thankful she ignored the comment, but I hurt on my insides for her. When we got in the car I had to explain to my kids that saying a person is “fat” is not a nice thing to announce. Yes, that woman was fat, but it is not nice to say it to her. It hurts people’s feelings, even when it is obvious to the world that they are unhealthy, to be called “fat”.

What would I have done if the woman had not ignored the comment? I have no idea. I guess I would have had to apologize for not teaching my daughter that calling someone “fat” was rude and so on.

When I talk about being fat to my friends and husband, I don’t necessarily want them to agree with me. I don’t want them to pump too much sunshine, but a little sunshine is ok.

See.

Even I don’t want the truth coming from anyone other than the lady in the mirror when it comes to my own physique.

So. Honesty.
When is it not good?
Or, is it always good?

According to God, honesty is good all of the time w/out exception.

Ugh!

overweight-woman-001

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10 Responses to “Honesty”

  1. Honesty/truth spoken in LOVE of course (according to God). I think that if we lived in a perfect world, honesty would be so much easier to give and recieve as it wouldn’t come with the judgement and supposition it comes with now.
    I try to be honest. I suppose if I REALLY thought about it I’d be surprised how often I ‘white lie”.. and what about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy? (etc).
    I strive to not be decietful. I hope even if I don’t have total honesty that counts for something!

  2. candidchatter Says:

    We don’t lie to our kids about Santa, tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and so on. That’s another topic for discussion, really. I struggle enough with explaining the Trinity. I don’t want to further confuse them with that inevitable conversation you eventually have about “well, Santa isn’t really real… and neither is the tooth fairy, but you still have to believe in Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit b/c they ARE real even though you can’t see them… but no the Easter bunny is fake and so is blah blah blah blah”. 😉

  3. I thought that might be the case (about mythical children’s characters). We (my husband and I) were not following the Lord when we had kids and so the Santa/Easter Bunny/tooth fairy ship has already sailed. The coming to know the truth about that was a 2 1/2 YEAR process for my oldest one.. we just “debunked” them all last month. After he & I had a conversation where he said “I just want proof that Santa is real.. to catch him in action.” and: “Of course, God is real, you can see Him in action.”! Proud of my boy!!

    I AM “fat”. My kids ask me about it all the time.. we’re trying to make healthier choices but the last couple years have been a challenge to get through let alone worry about weight. There’s a fine line between “nice”, “socially acceptable” and “dishonest”, I think. It’s a tightrope, that’s for sure.

  4. Ivan Says:

    We have never done the Santa thing either. Some of our friends are Absolutely Appalled at how we can be so cruel.

    re your main point: isn’t it more a case of diplomacy rather than honesty? There is more than one way of telling the truth.

    “Fat” is a strange one these days. There are so many hidden meanings in the word, things like unhealthy, ugly, greedy, lazy, common, …, lots of unanalyzed factoids floating around accepted as truth. They probably don’t even eat organic!

    Ivan

    p.s.: I am 5’10” and 155 lbs. 😀

  5. Tab Says:

    We are ALL dishonest at some time. It doesn’t make it right. We all know someone who thinks honesty means 0 filter from brain to mouth. That’s another story!

    The two verses that immediately came to mind while reading this were 1 Samuel 16:7 and Phillipians 4:8. Your daughter made a very honest and sweet mistake, but undoubtedly the woman was crushed (perhaps she actually WASN’T, but you were!). It was good, though, because it opened up a whole topic to share with your children! i.e. being sensitive to others, and speaking in kindness, which she didn’t understand that she hadn’t done.

    Almost everyone has a few extra pounds on them, but God loves us at every awkward stage of our life. Going way off topic. To have a few extra pounds is a sign that food is readily available. I know, I know, we ALL want to be thin. The last time I saw thin was 23. Though to be a little chubby, while uncomfortable, is a blessing 🙂 FOOD 😉 When we could be starving.

  6. candidchatter Says:

    I am probably the heaviest I have ever been right now. In order just to grace the top BMI I need to lose 20 lbs. And, my physical challenges which have kept me from rigorous exercise are healing so I am about out of an excuse. 😉 Which is convenient since I am really sick of not fitting into all my cute freakin’ clothes. My fat clothes are wearing out and I really, really, really do not want to buy more fat clothes. Ha!!

    Y’all are right about the way we say things can be even more important than what we say. It’s all in the “how”, right? 😉

    But, sometimes I think it’s easier to lie. I am not proud that I think that. I am just being real.

  7. Tim Messmer Says:

    The only true innocense is a child. The lie or no lie lets let our children be children not take away the escense of chialdhood with our selfish beliefs . The concept of heven hell the holy spirit is not comprehensible to an child . they can recite what you want them to say but understand they do not . Being that i am your brother i know how you were raised and the excitement we all got from our belief in the fairytails key word
    “fairytail” . The total excitement in a childs eyes when they see santa or the easter bunny is undeniable. Is he real hell ya . if you can touch it it is real . In the pure heart of a child they are real and should be. I was told in forth grade buy a nun at the Catholic school i attended that santa was fake and after some discusion with other kids in the class we decided she was crazy and i continued to believe until i was old enough to realize on my own . Then all i could think of is how was it possible for my great parents to afford to buy seven kids christmas. Wow now that is amazing never once in my 34 yrs have i thought they had ever lied to me . I served in the US Navy and with a Top Secret clearance I was still on a need to know basis and as a parent of three daughters I use this approach . If it can not help they do not need to know . I chalenge anyone to explain how not alowing your children to experience childhood is bennifical to them . It is only bennifical to you.

  8. Tim Messmer Says:

    the subject of overweight people is simple if you don’t make it an issue it isn’t. If you want to expose your kids to the negativity of judgement its your right as a parent but ask yourself how it will help. We are a phycisicaly fit family and i have to admit that in my younger years i dispised fat people and i have to live with my own judgment past and present but i will never tell my girls that that is fat . Unhealthy , sick , or jolly what ever all in all they are people humanbeings with fealings and people that love them. We watch a tv show called the biggest losser and the kids do to and my three yr old ask mom why are those people on that show she replied those people are trying to change their lives and that was good enough for her. Their is not a single overweight person that isn’t aware of it they don’t need anyone to remind them. Most of all a Child . This did happen to our family as kids when our little sister probably 4 or 5 wanted her uncle Jack to run over to see the horses with her and not knowing the true meaning yelled out come on fat jack come on fat jack as she ran. He was crushed and i asure you that if I remember this 20 + yrs later so does he. The childs heart and mind is innocent lets not fill them with the judjmental thinking thats in ours let them be innocent as long as we can. Let kids be kids!!!!!!!

  9. Tim Messmer Says:

    I do forgive you . I Just can’t forget that easy . I sleep well with a clean conscience I do not hate or dwell so do not think i do not love you I do.

  10. candidchatter Says:

    Tim: Thanks for your comments. I only want to touch on a couple of things.

    Regarding Santa:
    We let our kids enjoy holidays (and be kids). We approach the Santa issue like we do Mickey Mouse. He is a character of Christmas and fun! Mickey Mouse is a character of Disney and fun! Santa = Mickey. So Santa is as real to them as Mickey Mouse. Depending on the age of the child, that could mean he is without a doubt real or just a character in a fun fantasy pretend imagination land. They sit on his lap and get their picture taken every year. They love Santa Claus and get so excited to see him and get their treasured candy cane when they are done talking to him. It’s rather cute. But, we don’t pretend he brings them gifts down a chimney we don’t have, with reindeer that really don’t fly. We tell them who the gifts are from (us, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) and we don’t get weird or dogmatic with it either. They understand it perfectly and innocently. We have a Nativity scene, we decorate the house with lights, we have a tree and tree décor, we wear red & green, we watch Christmas shows, we sing Christmas carols, we send cards, we eat pumpkin pie, we attend parties (and sometimes host them), we go to plays, we go to church, and we talk a lot about the birth of Christ since that really IS what Christmas is all about.

    Regarding “fat”:
    I said in my post I had avoided that word for a long time. Unfortunately, there are people in our lives who call themselves fat and make a big deal about it a lot. It has happened repeatedly and so often that my children wanted to know “what does fat mean”. I had to explain what fat means. So I did as sensitively and as elementary as I could. Because it was so innocent and child-like, I forgot to mention never to call someone “fat” because it simply didn’t cross my mind. My kids are good kids. They are learning to be loving, compassionate, respectful, loyal, humble, obedient, and generous. I would never sit them down and teach them to call people fat or to judge anyone. Brianna asked if that woman was fat out of a pure heart, not a malicious one. She is a sweet child, much like your Maddie. She is quiet, reserved, contemplative, and sensitive. Thus the reason she cried when she realized what she had said was wrong. She really had no clue. When I shushed her, she hid behind my leg with fat tears in her eyes sobbing into the back my thigh. It was horrible for her and now she knows not to say fat about people and now I know to explain the rest of the story when I have to answer a difficult question. Sure could use that parenting manual that is tailored to each individual child at times like that. Ha!!!

    I love you too.


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