Saturday, 16 April 2011

To be honest...

I have just read a thread on a parenting forum which amused me and I thought I would share my thoughts here, and see what you think.

The thread began with a question, quite a bizarre one in my humble opinion. It went a little something like this:

"What should I say to my friend who has just had a baby, and given the child a name which I don't like?"
Ok... Now is it only me but I didn't understand the question. Especially when the person asking it added that she "obviously wouldn't say anything mean" and just needed some sound-bites ready for when she met the baby so she didn't say anything "tact-less".
I don't think there is a question here at all really. Surely as an adult she is aware that her opinion is subjective and not relevant at all in this situation. The friend has a beautiful new baby she will have a friend with her sharing in her joy, and the friend's negative opinion of the name is not relevant to the situation at all (if she wishes to continue this friendship).
It is one thing to discuss names with a friend when a child is in the womb, but once this real person has been given the name the discussion is closed and Baby X is Baby X, someone's beloved child who (as far as anyone else is aware) has a name which was chosen just for them be it William, Katherine or little Lelli-Kelly!
This then lead me on to a more generalised thought about being "honest" about one's opinion. If a person starts a sentence with the phrase "To be honest..." these days I have a momentary panic. Does this mean that the person concerned is going to go thrashing in with an opinion which they are of course entitled to hold but is possibly not being expressed with as much charity as they could reasonably muster.
The thing is one person's trivial is another's deep felt thought.
I like to think I am Captain Cautious on this matter. I hate the possibility of causing offense and because of this I only speak up when it feels right to do so, when the issue is so huge that I feel I would be being cowardly not to.
I work by the old maxim of "If you haven't anything kind to say, don't say anything at all". I am of course as prone to misjudged comment as the next person though and there have been moments when my foot has been so far in my mouth that standing has been tricky... we all try


  1. None of our business! A symptom of modernity is that we feel we have a God-given right to express a view - when we don't. Such honesty can do nothing but hurt, and such people should be ashamed of themselves!

    I also like it when people use the preface 'To be honest' - 'cos it means that they have lying through their arses until then!

    This comment was crafted by Grumpy Curates Cot Com

  2. Thanks David, that made me LOL! :D Couldn't agree more.

  3. I'm with you on this, wife of a curate. It was one of my grandmother's favourite sayings and she must have driven it deep into my subconcious over the years. Ther is enough real pain and stres in the world withoutour adding to it by saying unnecessarily hurtful things.

    PS Glad to have found your blog - thanks to David's link.