Monday, September 2, 2013

The Deception of Niceness

There are several schools of thought on how to raise your children.

1) You can teach them that if they don’t have something nice to say, they shouldn’t say it at all.
2) You can teach them to be honest at all times and let the chips fall where they may.
3) You can let them to learn life on their own and form their own set of values.

As long as your intentions are what's best for your children, there is not right or wrong way to raise them.

But no matter which method you use, your children are doomed to a life of conflict.

Those who are taught to only say nice things are doomed to be untrustworthy. These people try to tell you what they think you want to hear. They’d rather tell you a lie or say nothing at all if they think they might hurt your feelings. And when you catch someone in a lie, you can never trust that person again.

Those who are taught to be honest at all times are doomed to alienate people. A lot of people don’t really want to hear the truth because sometimes the truth is unbearable. Nobody wants to think they have faults and certainly don’t want them pointed out. They’d rather live a life of denial than face reality.

Those who are left to learn on their own are doomed to struggle through life with no direction. With no defined set of values, a person tends to experiment. Sometimes they will be honest, other times they will say what they think the other person wants to hear. And if it suits them they will lie through their teeth. Basically, they will take on the personality that fits the situation. Many in this category are in high political office or jail, depending on their guile.

I was taught to always be honest. This could explain why I live alone in the middle of nowhere.

I dedicate the remainder of this piece to all of those who were raised under the illusion you are being kind if your philosophy is the deception of "niceness" -- i.e., if you have nothing nice to say, you shouldn’t say it at all.

Butterflies and rainbows are nice.

Puppies and kittens are nice.

Babies are nice.

Well-behaved children are nice.

Considerate adults are nice.

People who help people are nice.

People who help animals are nice.

People who respect the environment are nice.

People who don’t litter are nice.

People who don’t smoke in public places are nice.

People who don’t use the world as an ashtray and discard their cigarette butts wherever they may be standing are nice.

People who don’t give their young kids ATV’s and allow them to drive like maniacs on dusty county roads are nice.

People who don’t play their music so loud that their neighbors are forced to take extreme action before they go completely insane are nice.

People who don’t discharge firearms so close to occupied dwellings that their neighbors are forced to duck for cover or return fire are nice.

I sense I’d better quit now. I can utter only so many nice things at one sitting.

If you want to hear only nice things, don’t bother striking up a conversation with someone who was taught to be honest -- they might wind up telling you something you don’t want to hear, like the truth.

If you are not ashamed to think it, you should not be embarrassed to say it.

When you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

Quote for the Day -- “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” Mahatma Gandhi

Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where the truth will set you free, but first it may annoy you.

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