One of Husband’s favorite movies is “A Few Good Men”. Every time it is on TV he has to watch it, no matter what part of the movie he catches. So needless to say, our household is very familiar with the iconic Tom Cruise/Jack Nicholson scene which goes something like this
JN: You want answers?
TC: I think I’m entitled
JN: You want answers?
TC: I want the truth
JN: You can’t handle the truth
I recently wrote a blog about honesty and friendship, about how we all say we want honesty in a relationship, but, well, you know. Many readers thought that people deserve honesty, but they don’t actually want it. And sometimes, we don’t want to be totally honest with a friend or relative. We all agreed, dishonesty with the sole intent to deceive is bad under any circumstances. That is the kind of honesty we want all the time.
I was recently invited to an event. I thought the invitations were hideous. But when I got to the event and someone (the parent of the host) exclaimed how gorgeous they were, and asked what I thought, I could only say “Yes. Unique.” I didn’t say that they were the most ostentatious thing I’ve ever seen. I just simply agreed, because it was my opinion they were ugly. I wasn’t trying to deceive anyone. I was trying to spare someone’s feelings.
Which brings us to: Do we really want to hear what our friends think, or do we just want them to agree with us? Let’s give some examples:
- Your friend is dating a guy. You saw him flirt with another woman at a party. When asked “What do you think of “M””, what do you say?
- Friend gets engaged to M. You think he will cheat on her but you have no proof. What do you do when she says “Isn’t M wonderful?”
- Friend is married to X. You see him kiss another woman. When she says “He is absolutely the best husband, right?” How do you answer?
How truthful are you in any of these situations? Do you worry that your friend will never speak to you again?
Leading to: Some friends will drop you like a hot potato if you tell them the truth because it’s not the truth that they want to hear. So many people have vowed never to tell the truth to a friend, because the truth is just not worth it. Especially about a significant other.
Now let’s skip to a different honesty situation: Your kids and their grades. Many schools have adopted a loosey goosey attitude towards grades. A child should not be based on how well they perform in a classroom situation because it might not be a holistic indicator of a child’s strengths and weaknesses. Ok. Whatever.
Now I want you to think about it like this. Do parents not want to see grades because they really don’t want the truth about their child’s academic abilities? Does a parent really want to know that their child is below average in math? Gee, do parents want to know that their offspring is average at math (fact: most people are average: that’s the definition of average) Every parent thinks their child is exceptional, and that is truth. Every child is exceptional, to a parent. But in the world as a whole, well, that just may not happen. A child may not be exceptional in everything. But does any parent want to hear that their child might not be the greatest thing in the world? Do we really want honesty about our children and how they perform? Better yet, if someone says our child is not the greatest whatever in the world, do we come up with excuses? Do parents say there was some sort of conspiracy involved? That the coach/teacher/instructor was jealous, or something equally inane?
I’m betting that I will write on this topic again. I may even review that Jim Carrey movie- I think it’s called “Liar, Liar” but I’m going to fact check that. But think about how much honesty you really want in your life. And at what cost.
Can you handle the truth?