Rock that Boat

When it came to my family and friends, betting on the truth was something that used to scare me. I didn’t want to hurt other’s feelings or make anyone mad.

When I grew up, I was often told by adults, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!”  While I never had much trouble speaking the truth to my kids, I had a harder time with my husband, especially when it came to my feelings. I didn’t want to rock the boat!

Then one day, I expressed to a friend how I was angry with myself for some of the mistakes I had made as a parent. My friend looked at me and said: “It’s clear to me that you are upset with your husband over this, not yourself. Why can’t you tell him? Are you afraid he can’t take it?”

That really set me to thinking. Did I think he couldn’t take it? Was my own comfort in our relationship more important than telling my husband the truth about what I really felt?

I realized later how disrespectful that was, not only towards him, but towards myself. How could we be partners in parenting and in life if I wasn’t willing to be truthful with him?

As I began to be more truthful with him, I started to take a closer look at how honest I really was with my kids. Were there times I kept quiet in order to not rock the boat? (yes) Did that show faith in them – that they could handle the truth? (no)

Shortly after that realization, my seven-year-old daughter came home and said she wanted to go to her friend’s house again, instead of having her over to our house. I didn’t like the fact that she always wanted to go over there but had not really said anything about it before. I wanted my daughter to be happy and have fun with her good friend, so I just kept quiet.

That day I told her how I felt – it hurt my feelings that she didn’t want to play at our house. I didn’t understand why, and I even suspected that she was getting to do things over at her friend’s house that I would not have approved of.

It was a great talk. It turned out that my daughter actually did want her friend over at our house more often, but didn’t know how to force the issue. By being truthful with her, I gave her the power to say to her friend, “I want to play at my house, and my mom said we have to sometimes.”

Betting on the truth is still hard for me with those I care about. I don’t want to hurt or anger them. But when I am truthful, it shows faith in those I care about. I learned also that being truthful is important for me, that I need to be honest for myself.  It makes me feel validated and important. We all need that!