A Cultural Shift

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Years ago, children were taught to tell the truth. When a mis-deed occurred they took responsibility, prepared for the consequences, and hesitantly reported the facts as they happened.

Today, speaking the truth is often considered inappropriate. Consider the following:

I have a friend who is a nurse. This morning she shared that she was continually criticized for having “no filter.” She actually felt it necessary to defend what she described as “her tendency to tell the truth.” The real question is, “Who would want a nurse who didn’t tell the truth?”

This cultural shift toward negatively labeling a truth teller – marking them as a person with “no filter” presents to our children a character model filled with compromise. Right and wrong are neither fluid nor negotiable. Either an event happened or it didn’t. Either something is the truth or it is a lie. There should be no confusion.

Having “no filter” used to mean that the person was unskilled in a social situation and could not determine what was an appropriate response in a certain circumstance. But today, the term is used in a demeaning way, judging a person harshly for speaking truth.

A teacher friend of mine recently posted this on Facebook:

“One of the biggest rules I have in class: “Be honest!” I can work with that …would much rather a kid mess up, admit it, and we come up with a solution. Teaching kids to overcome is paramount in life!!!”

If we want our young people to grow up respecting what is right and authentic, then perhaps we should explain to them that, in spite of what the world would say, there is no higher use of language than to speak … the truth.

Note: For more information on children and lying, read our article entitled “Embroidered Truth.
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The Rocking Chair

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Yard sales, garage sales, tag sales … the ritual goes by many names but all yield the same result – pure joy! On any given Saturday morning this summer, cheerful folks can be found searching for treasure on a neighbor’s front lawn. Toting a cup of coffee in one hand and a wad of dollar bills in the other, the quest in the brisk cool air is as much fun as finally buying the coveted find.

Here is a lesson we learned about measuring the true value of a yard sale find …

When our daughter was accumulating furniture for her first apartment, we bought an old oak rocking chair at a yard sale for eight dollars. When moving day arrived, she decided that the rocker would not fit her décor so we placed it in a spare bedroom. For years it sat there, ignored.

A few weeks ago at our own yard sale, we decided to let it go. I sold it to a shocked gentleman for three dollars. After it was gone, I missed it terribly and wondered, “Why had I sold it … and for only three dollars?” The answer came quickly as one of those light-bulb-over-the-head revelations.

Because we had paid so little for it, I never appreciated it’s real worth. I never considered the craftsman’s hands that had turned the spindles, the skilled furniture maker who had fastened the joints in place, or the babies who were rocked to sleep in it. I always saw it as just a yard sale bargain.

And I sold it for what I considered to be its worth. What a lesson.

Our lives – and the lives of our children – are filled with blessings that cost us little:

  • a starlit evening
  • silly giggles in the night
  • a snow day
  • birds chirping at dawn
  • a peach tree laden with ripe fruit
  • a yard sale rocking chair

Let us teach our children to never measure the true worth of a blessing by the yardstick of its cash value.  Instead, let us give them wisdom, demonstrating how to appreciate each blessing as a gift, like an old friend who has come by to visit, and rock for a while.

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