Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Truthful to a Fault

One thing I should lay before my courageous readers is that this blog shall be set forth with complete honesty. This isn’t something I have decided as I prepare entries, but something I cannot escape from. There was a zero lying tolerance in our home. On the surface, this appears to be a tremendous thing to walk away with. After all, three children had at least one of the Ten Commandments firmly implanted into their brains. But that quality was taken and enlarged to a comical degree.

We were the Santa spoilers. The “Christmas magic” believers hate those kids. “Why do those little brats have to ruin the enchantment? I get one season where my kids are asking someone else for stuff!” It doesn’t matter, of course, that they financially back Santa. But our family was dreaded to a greater extent. We weren’t just tactless; we hinted at conspiracy: “It’s all an illusion. There is no Santa and your parents have lied to you. What else could they be hiding?”

To this day, we have no tact. One Christmas, I purchased some boxers for my brother. He opened them and said, “Oh, thank you. I hate these.” We cannot, even for the noblest purposes, lie.

Gentleness was lost in our efforts to drive even the appearance of falsehood. “Our sheep was put to sleep last night,” a friend told some students at school one day. We had spent the evening at their house (it was lambing season, and our ewes were rooming in their barn). We knew what events had taken place, and most unfortunately, one of the ewes had had to be put down. My brother blurted out, “that sheep’s not sleeping; it’s dead!” Death was always dealt with in this manner. There was no softening of the blow for us: we were told exactly what had happened and that, probably, we would not be seeing that specific animal in heaven.

Even now, I find an almost compulsory need for precision. My husband will be telling a story and I’ll jump in with something like, “It wasn’t five o’clock. It was six.” No one cares what time such-and-such happened. But I can’t help myself.

It is frightening to know that though truth is an excellent principle, it has still has some comical side effects. What will happen if I unknowingly teach negative principles? I guess whatever happens, I will be able to face that with a truthful air. 

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