Do me a favor… tell me the truth

Yesterday I had an interesting experience that confirmed a few things for me.

One of my daughters receives in-home therapy. We have five therapists a week in our home.

Side Note: My bride is an angel! I have spent the last several days in awe as I watch her manage the steady flow of therapists, three little people (ages 4, 3, & 1 1/2), cook GREAT meals, keep the house clean, and still have time to offer commentary on American Idol! Oh yeah, and she’s seven months pregnant! What have I been doing you ask? Painting the bathroom and prepping the living room for paint… and trying not to get in the way!

OK, back to the story…

At four years old my little lady is getting close to “go-to-school” age (Yea, I’m weepy about that).

As we consider special needs education we have to consider things like: cognitive expectations; physical expectations; social expectations; etc.

We have discussed these things and, our plans with the therapists. No one has disagreed with our plans… until yesterday.

Yesterday one of our therapists said, “I don’t think that your little girl is ready for the plan you have in mind.”

Keep in mind that Sherri and I have high expectations for “The Ladies” and are admittedly “Pushers.” At the same time we are aware that there are limitations.

After a lengthy conversation with this particular therapist I asked, “Why hasn’t anyone ever told us this? Why has everyone listened to our plans and just mumbled and nodded their consent?”

Her answer… “Cause we didn’t want to make you feel bad.”

WHAT THE HECK KIND OF ANSWER IS THAT?

Listen, I’d rather you tell me the truth and risk making me feel bad than to let me feel good and watch me make a HUGE, life-defining mistake!

Because of this input we are seriously reconsidering our educational plan for our little girl!

All I want to know is how many of our therapists talked with each other or thought to themselves, “This is a mistake! Their plan isn’t right for this little girl,” and said NOTHING!
And then I started thinking…

How many times have I watched someone make a really stupid decision and NOT said anything because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings or make them feel bad?

Here’s the scoop… that’s lame! Don’t think you’re being a friend if you care more about my feelings than my future. Don’t think you’re helping me if you watch me walk off a cliff because you don’t want to run the risk of hurting my feelings.

My respect for this particular therapist went through the roof yesterday. She said some tough stuff… she disagreed with us in a loving, but firm way and consequently she may have changed the course of our little girl’s future.

The moral of the story…

Life-changing conversations may hurt some feelings, but they are the litmus test of true love.

A few lessons:

  • Not every disagreement is worth talking about. We should “Put it on the table” when we know facts that our friend does not know. If you know something that would help me make a better decision… tell me! Keep in mind though that it is possible for two people to have the same pieces of information and still make different decisions! You must ask, “What is to be gained by putting this disagreement on the table?” Remember, not all disagreements are equal in nature!
  • Emotional puking is not helpful. If you are going to disagree with someone, respect his/her position but lay out the reasons why you disagree with them. Just saying, “I feel…” does not support your case, it is “Emotional puking,” and I will run when you do that! I need facts and anecdotes to persuade me.
  • Do not be offended if the individual does not immediately accept your advice. He/she has thought about the decision he/she has made and will need time to rethink the issue.
  • If you love me, you will tell me the truth and I will know you love me. If you love yourself you will run from the difficult conversation and watch me self-destruct and I will know that you do not love me.

12 thoughts on “Do me a favor… tell me the truth

  1. Wow.
    That was some blog. You’re comment section on this one is going to need more memory room. In the past, I have taken into consideration “hurting someone’s feelings” trying to save face with that person, not thinking about the potential mistake lurking around the corner for them. The truth in this blog is huge.

    Thanks for writing.
    You blessed me today.
    Jeff

  2. You and Sherri know your daughter(s) best! Keep working with her and she will blossom before your eyes! She has come so far already, way to go MOM!(and Dad)
    Honesty hurts sometimes and it is a job to them, she’s a daughter to you!
    As you know I’m for homeshooling anyways… Check out some web sites on Homeschooling children with special needs! You can do it… you already are! You care more about your daughter’s education than any theropist, teacher or special ed. person ever will. (just because you are the parents)
    God’s request is to: Train up a child in the way he/she should go and when he/she is old he/she will not depart form it (or regret it!) I believe this is the parents responsablity not the worlds. “Let go and let God Lead!”
    May God Bless your family

  3. You have such a blessed daughter!!
    Look at what a four year old taught you and your family and everyone reading this blog!

  4. Great post!!! I just want you to know that it takes a lot of guts for you to actually listen to what she had to say whether or not you agree, and then taking the time to actually think about what she said. Some people would just write her off and not listen to what she had to say. Since I am going to have to be dealing with people like the therapist I’m sure it meant alot to her that you would actually think about what she had to say and see what is BEST for your daughter. Again, great post!!!

  5. If you love me, you will tell me the truth and I will know you love me. If you love yourself you will run from the difficult conversation and watch me self-destruct and I will know that you do not love me.

    This particular point has my heart pounding a million beats a minute. My husband, whom I love more than life, does not live here at home with me and our two children because no one had the difficult conversation with him. And quite honestly, he always said that people in church only wear masks anyways, and I know that in his mind, the fact that no one came after him only solidified his mindset that no one ever really loved him after all. He was left to self destruct on his own.

    He made a bad choice. The choice that I have made is to ask the Lord to show me the wife that He would have me to be, and that in turn makes me the wife that my husband needs. And I am waiting with joyful anticipation for the day that my husband comes home.

    Paul & Sherri, you have the most beautiful girls, and love is a bottomless pit in your home. Carry on, faithful friends!

  6. Welcome to Holland
    By Emily Perl Kingsley

    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

    When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

    “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

    But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

    But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

  7. Paul,

    Great blog! I’m curious to know what your plan is for your little angel now, and also what your plan was for her before the therapist was honest! She has made such great progress and I so enjoy watching her develop and come out of her shell!! All of your “ladies” are beautiful and I can’t wait to meet the new addition!!

    Enjoy the rest of your time off!

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