Saturday, December 15, 2012


How much do we compromise our honesty because of our fear of confronting the consequences of the truth? In the honesty episode we watched a clip about young children lying about their disobedient actions. They looked behind them when they were told not to. Out of fear of being reprimanded some of them lied, and created a cover story. Hopefully as we age, our experiences will lead us to conclude that hiding from unsavory realities by lying does nothing more than postpone and compound the inevitable repercussions of our actions. Yes, it is possible to keep a lie spinning till the day you die, or even far beyond, but what kind of life would that be? If your goal in life is to reach your greatest potential, honest certainly seems to be a key ingredient. If your goal were to be to climb Everest, what good would it do to lie about the weather?

(I have to be honest, I don't know if I made that analogy up or not.)

As I look back at the times I lied, I shake my head. I may have gained a few dollars, or avoided a day or two in detention, or perhaps a bad grade in History class, but as I break these things down I begin to see flaws in my logic? The case with the History grade stands out in particular. When given the chance to grade my own test, I was very liberal with my interpretations of the answers. I falsely represented my own understanding of the course material. Why? Because I wanted to appear to "get it". I didn't want to seem dumb, or fall behind the rest of the honors class, even though in reality I was. Now I look back and think, who cares? Why even lie about that? But in that moment, fear of appearances drove me to lie. Then later in life, when the real world tested my knowledge of the civil war, I failed. Perhaps back in school, if I were honest with myself, I would have gone back and learned the stuff I was expected to know, or at least settled for an appropriate grade.

Honesty in friendship can be tough on a different level. Sometimes we soften the truth in attempts to salvage the friendship, or sometimes we straight up lie. After all, who is going to tell their friend that they need to loose weight? A true friend, that's who! I think the level of honesty you can maintain with your friends defines the quality of that relationship. I admit, you're not going to say to a new friend, "put down that Twinkie, fatty!", but you might say it to someone you have established a certain closeness with, that can handle a little intervention. My best friends have told me, on several occasions, I have glaring character flaws. Sure, it still stings to hear things like, "dude, you need to shower more.", but I know it comes from a place of good will.

Is it easier to be blunt with strangers? This certainly would explain trolling on the internet, but is that really helpful. There are countless talk shows that display public interventions. Dr. Phil makes a living at telling it like it is. Can it be constructive criticism when there is so little invested in the relationship between troll and trollee? Of course I'm not calling Dr. Phil a troll, but these types of relationships are similar. How much do we listen to advice strangers? I suppose when they have the title of Dr. next to their name that adds a little but of stock to their words, but ultimately how much are you going to care if you hurt your Dr.'s feelings, over those of your best friends?

On the other hand, how much easier is it for us to be honest with people that know how to forgive? Sometimes we don't know how people will respond to the truth, until we test it out on them. I know I can be honest with wife because she know's I'm human. She forgives a lot. There is a threshold however, I know the lines I should not cross, but with things like spending too much on shoes, I know I can tell her and move on. I don't have to live in fear of her discovering my hidden Air Jordan's. I value that in our relationship. I hate walking on eggshells with people, and I don't have to with her, or my  close friends.

Now, on a closely related topic. I want to share this bonus clip from the episode that didn't get played about facts. In school, we hear all sorts of facts. How often do we call B.S. on them and dig deeper on our own? Are you a fact checker?