I continue to have conversations with individuals who ask me questions about how I might want to raise my son. I always have lots of ideas to share with them, but one in particular comes so strongly to me that I wanted to share with you. Honesty and trust.
You might find me out in left field, or strange, or just not at all mainstream, but I am not sure I want to raise my son by telling him lies. I wrote a blog about it last May — the idea that we basically lie to our kids about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny (and I am sure a lot more). Yet, I continue to be baffled that we want to teach our kids to tell the truth and have honesty and integrity, yet we somehow are horrible examples of that. Of course we want our kids to have mystery and adventure in their lives, but there has to be a better way.
Yes, I will try to find a way to be graceful about it all so that he does not ruin it for other kids, but I want to be honest with him and not create this world where he later finds out that the stories we tell about these holidays are all made up. How then have I truly taught him about trust, honesty, and integrity? We can still celebrate the real meaning of these holidays (which I wonder how much of that is really lost on so many kids because they learn this fairy tale rather than the essence and significance of these holidays).
This conversation keeps coming up, and it has brought about some interesting dialogue. Maybe I am rogue or on the fringe, or maybe we are not asking the right questions. As parents we should be the examples. My dad’s answer was often: “Because I said so.” Which I hated because it meant he either did not have a better answer, he was too lazy to explain it, or he just wanted to have control over what I thought. As exhausting as it might be I want to be transparent with this little boy entering the world and give him honest answers that help him weave together and make sense of an already complex world.
Are you a half-full or half-empty kind of person? I like to think of myself as half-full. Optimistic. Ready to jump into anything. Ready. Set. Go. However, there are days when life sucks, everything in your day feels like you have been handed a sour lemon. You begin to approach that day as half-empty. Everyone is out to get you, nothing is going right. You were not given what you should have been given. You can turn it around though. It is all about you.
Which is why I love this quote from a recent Daily Om titled: “Starting from Empty.” Specifically this part:
“When we look at our lives we see all the elements that are in place and all the things we do have. This doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t seek more, but we seek from a place of fullness instead of from a place of lack. This fullness draws positive energy into our lives and often attracts more abundance.”
Regardless what rocks get thrown back at us, how nasty someone was to us, or how rotten that project has turned, we always have a choice. We get to decide how to react or how to handle it. We get to decide whether we are going to let it go and move on, or if we are going to stop, take a stand, and speak up. Now, that does not mean that just because we speak up the other side will listen. It does not mean that the result is one of principle, rightness, or integrity. Sometimes though by being able to voice our thoughts and experience from a half-full mentality, we honor ourselves. We force the other side to see that we stand for integrity and honesty, whether they care or not. We did the right thing.
Forget about what another has done to you (besides, karma is a bitch, right)? You only have to live from your own half-full fullness. It is attractive, it breeds abundance, and energy that is full on life.
Who do you trust? I have a hard time with “trust” in general. I am working on it though. Too often growing up others made promises that they did not keep, and over time it wore me down, and has made it hard for me to trust others. There are a few people in my life that I trust without question. For a select few, I might go along with plans, and have a back-up just in case promises made to me do not come through. Is having a back-up plan a bad thing? Maybe.
This Seth Godin blog titled: “Where does our trust come from?” hit home with me. I am including the full text of his blog post here:
“Hint: it never comes from the good times and from the easy projects.
We trust people because they showed up when it wasn’t convenient, because they told the truth when it was easier to lie and because they kept a promise when they could have gotten away with breaking it.
Every tough time and every pressured project is another opportunity to earn the trust of someone you care about.”
Wow. So true. Those that I trust in my life, were there with me in the fun times and the tough times. They never hesitate to tell me what I might need to hear, even if they do not want to share it with me, or when they know they might get the wrath of my response. How do you move forward and begin to trust others again? How do you know that they will not continue to break their promises? The only answer I have is to take it each day at a time, moment by moment, and listen for what feels right to do in each situation. Maybe that is the only way to build up trust, and over time let go of the control you hold close.
Do you show up for others? Every moment of each day could be a moment where you can be there for someone else, where you can show your true colors and hopefully they trust you in return.
Over the weekend I was penciling in my calendar a friend’s art show coming up in June. I decided to check out the website of the gallery where her show will be held and found this show. What a clever idea, be sure to click the show link for a full image. I have included a bit of the text here as it is hard to read on the left side of the photo:
WHAT DO YOU FIGHT FOR? Whether it’s in a cage, for the rights of others, or just for her attention, we are all fighting for something
I fight for _______
It made me think about and ponder what I fight for. What does it mean to fight for something? Do the people or things you fight for have levels or degrees to how much effort you give? Do some people receive the tall or grande effort while others might get the venti or Big Gulp? If there are ranges, then are you really fighting for those that only receive the grande effort? This is the list that came to me:
I fight for: my husband, my family and friends, women’s rights, literacy, children to eat healthy and be active on a daily basis, integrity, an hour a day to run (= sanity), fairness, equality…the list goes on.
However, I am not sure my list should go on. If I were being honest with myself, my husband would receive the infinite beverage size of my energy. Mess with my husband and you have to deal with me. Yes, he can completely take care of himself, and does not need me to get involved, but that does not mean that my competitive, fighting self will not lose all control against someone who tries to mess with my better half. So does that mean I do not think that childhood obesity is not worth fighting for? No. It is about the effort I give out. I would go to combat to fight for my husband, and while I am passionate about childhood obesity, it is not the same level of fight that I would have for Chris.
Have you thought about which things in your life you want to fight for? When the opportunity presents itself, do you really fight for them?
Last summer I went to the IABC Conference that took place in San Diego, California. For those of you that might not know what the IABC Conference stands for – it is the International Association of Business Communicators. The keynote address was by Jonah Leher. I had recently read one of his books and enjoyed it, while also being very intrigued by his keynote address.
A few months Jonah released his next book: Imagine and I checked it out from the library. Once I received it and tried to start reading it, I was turned off. For the most part, the pages I read served to debunk the idea that brainstorming and creativity are effective ways to come up with new ideas. So I stopped reading and decided his new book was not one I was going to finish. Then tonight I came across this NPR article about the Bob Dylan quotes Jonah made up. What has come of our world? With all the information on the Internet, why would you ever even think about lying or fibbing about quotes, data, experience, etc? It does not make any sense to me!
It also opens up a lot of questions for me. What makes authors knowingly lie or make up content? Have folks not remembered the James Frey drama? Why is honesty and integrity such a hard thing to follow through on? How can we continue to trust authors and writers if we constantly have to wonder if they are telling the truth or not? It is interesting to me that the content of his book made me return it to the library and move on with my life. And…now they are pulling his book for inaccuracies.
Reminder to all writers: TELL THE TRUTH. Otherwise, you lose all respect and credibility.