Kids Say the Darndest Things; Why Can't Adults?
This afternoon, I was walking down the hallway at the school in which I was substitute teaching. At that time of day, the hallway was quite empty, but I passed by a little girl I knew well from previous subbing jobs in this school. I said, "Hi Jenny, how are you doing?" She looked at me with a quizzical expression, cocked her head a bit to one side, put her hand out in front of her, rocked it back and forth a bit and said, 'About in the middle." I was confused for a second, and my first thought was, 'In the middle of what?" Then I realized at a time when most adults would have said, "Fine, and you?" or maybe just a one-word answer, this sweet little girl was being totally honest with me and answered how she truly felt...not good, not bad, but "about in the middle." I wondered why adults couldn't be the same way. Her honesty had me smiling for the rest of the day.
I once had an adult woman who was born in the South tell me that people in our Connecticut town were too honest. They tell others how they really feel when asked. She was brought up by a father who told her never to tell people how you really feel if you are having a bad day. She was supposed to just put on a happy face for the rest of the world, and not let them see if she was sad or having a bad day. She was supposed to hide her true feelings. Being born and raised in the North, I told her that seemed pretty phony to me, and up here in the North, we believe in being honest with others. So while some people, apparently like her, ask the question about how another person is doing, and don't want to hear the real answer, there are those of us, being born in the North and I am sure in other places, that want to know the truth. If I ask someone how they are feeling and they are having a bad day, I sincerely do want to know the truth, because maybe there is something I can say that will help them. I am sure there are plenty of adults who don't tell the truth because they think the person that is asking is just being nice. But there are those of us who ask, and we really care so don't be afraid to open up like my friend Jenny and let the truth out. You may get a response that will help your day go from " about in the middle" to "pretty good."
Today I did not help my young friend Jenny because what she said took me by surprise. But next time, I will be ready.
By the way, how are you feeling today? And please be honest!
When People Ask How You Are Doing, Do You Tell Them The Truth?
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© 2013 Karen Hellier