Tag Archives: honesty

If You’ve Got Nothing, Just Admit It.

I just spent and entirely fruitless half hour searching the internet for a picture.

We’ve been in Las Vegas with my daughter this past weekend at a national dance convention. She’s had a great season and had some nice kudos along the way.

I was trying to find a picture of her on the internet since all of MY stuff is on my home computer. A search on her name brought back a couple, and by this I mean maybe three, decent results but it also brought back, among other extraneous things, a link to a web site on the Chinese Tarot written almost entirely IN Chinese except for where it translates Chinese into Latin.

Now, I get it when it brings backs a picture with some random “Fletcher” in it but the Chinese Tarot? Really?

In an attempt to bring back multiple results the search algorithm must have chosen something that I’m sure makes technical sense but in the real world provides no practical value. And THAT made me wonder…

How often do we do that? How often do we try to provide SOMETHING when it would be best to admit we’ve got nothing?

Businesses do it all the time if they believe they have a solution that comes somewhere close to answering a potential customer problem.

Politicians do it all the time by restating a question to move it from something they don’t want to answer into something for which they have prepared answer.

Maybe I’m just worn out by several days in a town that seems to be built on the empty promise that you’re life can be perfect if you just have the right amount of money. And if you don’t have the right amount of money then by investing the right amount in gambling you’ll increase your odds of getting the right amount of money to make your life perfect…at least while you’re here.

Maybe I’m just feeling that the world needs a little more Simon Cowell like honesty in it…perhaps without the sarcastic edge…but he essentially tells people they can’t sing, they should save their time and effort and choose something else.

Maybe I’m worn out by the angst coming from all these parents at this dance convention some of whom are seeing their kid as the next star on “So You Think You Can Dance” when really they should just be encouraging the kid that it is good they’re trying hard and getting exercise.

Somewhere along the way being directly honest, “I’ve got nothing for you” or “This isn’t your thing”, seems to have gotten a bad rap and has been replaced by “No really, if that’s what you want let me see what I can find that is at least two steps removed and holds out a modicum of hope without being dishonest.”

And that’s how you wind up with Chinese Tarot.

Perhaps you’re feeling this post is a reflection of that. That I should have admitted I had nothing for a Monday morning and saved you the time and trouble of having read it. Fair enough…I’ll take that.  🙂 But I’ll still finish with a question:

Where do you wish you could get a little more of the direct kind of honesty that, in the end, saves time?

Take this Simple Integrity Test

I was speaking to a room full of about 175 Jr Hi kids, this was before the term “middle school” became vogue, and the question I posed was, “What would it be like for you to tell nothing but the truth for the next 48 hours?”

That meant no subtle twisting of the facts, no avoiding the question, no little white lies and no “I was just kidding”‘s. Interestingly only about half the kids were willing to take on that challenge.

I was closing the meeting in prayer and asking that God put each kid who was taking on the challenge in at least one situation where it might be uncomfortable for them to tell the truth. Just as I was getting to the “amen” someone, somewhere near the front, let one go. It wasn’t a huge rip but it was loud enough, and the room was quiet enough that everyone heard it. (For those still unsure as to what I meant the kid passed gas, queefed, had flatus, farted, etc.)

With the ‘n’ of the amen still resounding in the room, eyes starting to look up , and snickers being  painfully if ineffectively repressed throughout the crowd I simply said, “Ok, I hate to ask but, who did it?”

One little seventh grade guy, about three rows back, eyes wide in terror, slowly dropped his head and raised his hand. The room exploded in a mixture of interesting laughter.

Some of it was just what you’d expect from a Jr Hi audience, that mocking tone delivered at another person’s demise. But some of it was a sort of relieved laughter. They’d seen someone take on the challenge and their laughter was part relief that it wasn’t them and part pity on the kid in the spotlight. But some of it, to these kids credit, was actually congratulatory laughter. They had seen their friend in the worst possible timing come through with flying colors!

Integrity is, in one sense, adherence to moral and ethical principles, soundness of moral character, or honesty. But in another sense of the word it is simply wholeness. Allow me to suggest that in terms of how we live integrity can be said to be the level to which our actions are consistent with what we say we believe…wholeness.

You may not hold to the same set of moral standards that I do but if you live out what you claim to be your moral standard to the same degree that I live out mine we are equals in terms of integrity.

So here’s the little test, you’ll need to write these down:

1. Without thinking too deeply about it, first things that come to mind, make a list of the 5-10 things you hold as your most important beliefs or values. Go.

2. Without thinking too deeply about it list 10 people you are around on a consistent basis. Only 3 can be intimate friends or family.

3. Now next to each name write the number of items you think that person would guess correctly from your first list.

Done sincerely it’s an interesting exercise. Did you list “spending time with family” as important? Would your colleagues at work have picked that? Did you list honesty? Would your kid guess that after watching you do your taxes?

If you want to take this to the extreme create a multiple choice list that includes twice the number of items you picked in part one and hand that out to the people listed in part two and see how you fare.

There is a crowd watching. Some want to laugh at you, some want to laugh for you, and some want to laugh in celebration of you. The more consistently we live the larger the third group grows.

Did you take the test? How do you think you scored?