The truth is often hard to chew. But if it is sweetened with love, then it is a little easier to swallow.
Patricia McKissack, The Honest-to-Goodness Truth
We had fun at the table one morning this week reading this tale of a young girl who decided to never tell a lie after being less than honest with her mother. The moral of the story, shown above, has been forever engrained in my mind after another of life’s lessons presented itself this week.
One of our constant struggles with our oldest is about passion and commitment to hard work. A child of typical middle-class privilege, she can be frustratingly casual about the many opportunities that come her way. She’s played tennis with mediocre effort for years now, doing just enough to make the beginner’s team, yet whining about not being advanced. When I’ve questioned her about quitting (read don’t keep wasting our money if this isn’t something you want to do!), she half-heartedly commits to work on it, only to be followed by the usual whining and complaining when it’s practice time. At my wit’s end after her dad sacrificed to drag her kicking and screaming to practice once more, I had decided that this was the last semester we would pay for. Moreover, I was going to let her know the honest-to-goodness truth about her attitude. To fully appreciate what I’m saying, you have to realize that diplomacy has never been my strength, and I’m learning grace and mercy at a late age since I didn’t grow up seeing that role-modeled in my home. Translation? I was about to give a flesh-satisfying tongue lashing that would have nipped all that whining (and probably some self-confidence and self-esteem) in the bud!
My husband came in with her a couple of hours later. He was elated, saying that she had done so well and really hustled out on the court. The next day, she lost her singles match by a hair, but won the doubles match. On that same day, she came to us and said that she was going to work with her coach to hopefully make the advanced team on next year. Only time will tell how long the commitment lasts, but thank God that I didn’t open my mouth and say my version of the honest-to-goodness truth–unsweetened.