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Friday, May 15, 2009

Being Honest With Your Children

Are you honest with your children? I've always made a concentrated effort to not lie (even about surprises and such) to my children. I may have had to say, "I can't answer that", or "I don't want to answer that", or even "Don't ask me that." But sometimes it's hard to be honest and truthful, isn't it? We want our children to be good - at everything!! So, we don't really want to tell them, but we really need to.

For example, today my daughter and a friend were practicing the National Anthem for a banquet that will be held tonight. They were performing in front of the middle school students, as well as their advisor, and a few others. They were singing acapella and my daughter was singing alto, while the friend was singing the lead part. There were times it sounded really good, but there were times where...well, to be honest, it was bad! Really bad! Our anthem is a difficult song to sing anyway, but my daughter has only practiced the alto part a few times, and it's just really hard to get. Plus, she is usually singing alto at worship - in a group - and able to follow with others. She was able to be on the right part sometimes, but most of the time it sounded really off.

Immediately after the performance, the advisor came over to me. Before he could say a word I said, "That won't work!" I think he was relieved that I felt the same way! He suggested to me they sing in unison. I left for a little while, and when I came back the two girls asked me what I thought about the earlier performance. I was honest with them and told them that the alto part just was not working. I explained to them that it's hard to get that part anyway (I know because I tried to do it myself when I left and I couldn't get it either!) and that it would sound great for them to sing in unison. They said, "That's just what Mr. W (the advisor)said!". So, they practiced and it sounded much better and on tune. Hopefully it will be at the banquet tonight!

Last week I had to be honest with my daughter about a solo song for this same banquet. She has a good voice - don't get me wrong - but there are some songs that just will not work for her. She's got a deep voice and not many songs are written for girls with deep voices! It was hard to tell her, and I did it kindly, but of course, she was disappointed. She has been able to sing at a few other events throughout the school year, but these two newer songs she was trying to sing would not work for this event.

As a parent, sometimes we have to have the courage to tell our children the truth about their talents and abilities. We have to be honest with them and tell them if they need to improve on something or that maybe something "isn't their thing". I'm all for building my children up and encouraging them (and I do), but too many times children are told how great they are and then they are disappointed later in life when they don't do as good as they assumed they would. They have kind of a false impression of themselves because they've been "puffed up" by their parents and many times by grandparents.

On the positive side, though, my daughter is going to be doing part of her FFA speech tonight. Today as she did her speech during the practice, she did a great job. And, I was able to tell her so. I expect that she will tonight, as well.

Throughout their lives our children will experience success and failures. They'll have many opportunities to try new and exciting things. Some will work out and some will not. We have to be willing to help teach our children to learn to fail - because some time they're going to.

Update: 11:30 P.M. and after the FFA Banquet - The unison anthem and the speech went great. And, I've already told her, "Great job, Lauren!"

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