Yesterday, April 30th was National Honesty Day as listed on https://www.daysoftheyear.com/ as ‘Funny Days, Weird Days and Celebrations 2017’. I don’t think it’s weird to have an Honesty day, but rather would be a great virtue to see everyday.
The origin of National Honesty Day as noted by the above website was established by M. Hirsh. “M. Hirsh Goldberg, former press secretary to a governor of Maryland and author of five books, created National Honesty Day in the early 1990s…Goldberg created this day, because he felt that the month of April, which begins with a big day of lying (April Fools Day), should end on a higher moral note.”
I never really thought of April Fool’s Day as a day of lying, but rather the ‘set up’ of fun, practical jokes. For example, when Corey taped down the handle of the kitchen sink spray wand so that when I turned the water on…you get the picture. I believe I caught on before the ‘soaking’ occurred, much to his disappointment. Another April Fool’s joke I had played on me was when a co-worker, Nathan, called me at 6:00 A. M., asking if I could take in some seniors, as there had been a fire at the Manor…across the street from me, and possibly make some coffee for them. I was dismayed, and shocked, and having just woke up, did not really compute the fact that I had not heard sirens nor did I see any smoke. I readily agreed and said, “Yes, send them over and I’ll get the coffee on.” If I recall correctly, he called me back with a prompt, “April Fool’s!” The fart. THAT one was a lie! 😊
In my opinion, honesty covers two camps:
1. Easy Honesty. This is the easy camp for myself and some of you as well. This is honesty about good feelings or experiences. “I love you.” “You’re wonderful!” “I love your smile.” “You make me happy.” Pouring your heart out to someone, telling your child how proud you are of them. Having a heart-to-heart with a good friend about your fears, or ambitions. I’m reminded of phone conversations with my boys, or daughters (including my daughter-in-law here). When we talk about school, and work, and child rearing and the struggles, the wins, and the complexities of life. Those, for me, are Easy Honesty moments I treasure.
2. Tough Honesty. I want to preface this section by saying I am not talking about cruel honesty here, so consider the nature of yourself or others as I explain. First, I am extremely sarcastic, with the sarcasm directed mostly at myself, or, only to those who know me and who I know share similar wit, being a twisted sense of humour. 🙂
While I tend to openly speak my mind or heart to others, it is not my nature to make a cruel comment hidden in jest. Or, a comment that while truthful, is simply not appropriate. I would never say, “Gee that top’s a little tight, isn’t it?” To me, that’s just rude. When I listen to someone speak to others in these ways, I cringe; I want to pull a blanket over my head, have the room swallow me up. I find it soooooooo awkward, and immediately I try to say something positive to detract from the comment. I for some reason, feel it is my unspoken duty to soften the blow, to somehow make that person feel better. In the words of my Mother (and Flower the skunk), “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I read a quote the other day, “Being positive in a negative situation is not naive, it’s leadership.”
Tough Honesty, is speaking difficult truths regarding someone’s choices, direction, or character because you desire to help them and therefore, be of benefit to them. At times, I am leery of having those difficult conversations to protect myself. We all have that need to protect ourselves from fear…fear of rejection, that thought, “But what if this destroys our friendship?” “What if they get mad?” However, as you know, as a friend, parent, co-worker, spouse, etc., there are times when tough things need to be said. We do this because we care for another person and want the best for them. I focus on two aspects I believe are so important with Tough Honesty.
1. Whether you should say it.
Just because something needs to be said, or a seemingly opportune moment arises, whether you should say it needs to be considered. Timing. Timing is everything. It’s not about being ‘chicken’, it’s about being compassionate and considerate. Careful thought should be given to what the individuals life is like, what’s happening in this moment for them, not you. I’m reminded of when we discovered Corey’s dog Snap, had cancer. Corey was writing finals, and therefore I did not tell him about Snap until after exams. It was a long two weeks, but it was better for Corey that we waited.
How to say it.
“Season your words with grace.” Always. This may be more a person’s nature, however, I do believe everyone can benefit from learning to speak kindly. I always ask God for direction and guidance first. I practice what I’m going to say, out loud, numerous times, seeking the right words, listening to my own ‘gut’ for softer words, for gentler ways and consider how I would receive it. Those difficult topics well thought out and spoken in love, are more apt to be received in love.
While we all want to wear the badge of Honesty and surround ourselves with others of like minds, remember: The tongue is powerful, the most powerful part of the human body. Our tongue can cut like a sword, tear down and destroy; or, it can be used to encourage, provide balm to the hurting, to instruct with wisdom, and to comfort those we love.
“Just A Little Something” I honestly wanted to share.