Thursday, July 20, 2006

Truthfulness and Exaggerations

I was talking to Kamron last night as I was putting him to bed and he asked me if there were any more miracles today. We had a good discussion and I told him of a few I knew of and then I told him that sometimes miracles are not so obvious. I told him about when my older brother was 19, after he had received his mission call, he and the bishop's son where out riding motorcycles and my brother got shot. The bullet had gone in and bounced back out off a rib and I think it was a type of miracle. I told Kamron that if ever his uncle was swimming he could look at his back and see the scar of two holes. Kamron replied, "Oh, I don't need to see it I know you are telling me the truth. You never lie to me, so I know I can believe everything you say. " Then after a minute he replied, "Mom, how can I be like that, where other people can always believe me?" We discussed the importance of never lying.

The reason this conversation hit me was because I did used to lie occasionally and I used to exaggerate quite a bit. In my family growing up exaggerations were part of our speech. I never thought anything about it really. When I said a million, people knew it wasn't really a million, it was just a lot. Then I got married and Kevin's family had different unspoken rules. I remember once telling my sister-in-law that there was a thousand somethings and her eyes got big and she said, "Wow, a thousand." She had taken me literally. I had to quickly correct myself and say, okay not really a thousand, but a lot. But I couldn't tell her how many. I had no idea really and I began to suspect that I was really bad at visually calculating amounts as I had never done it, I had always just made up a number without concern to accuracy.

Later when I read in volume one of Charlotte Mason's Homeschooling series where she discusses the mother taking the children out doors for the day. After awhile the children begin to get bored and the mother gives them something to go investigate, and then come tell her all about it. The children run and come back with a description of a tree, but can not tell if the bark is rough or smooth or what shape the leaves are. So they are sent again to find out. By this method Miss Mason would have us teach our children to be exact in their descriptions. I have often thought that training would be very good for me too. I have been trying to make myself be more exact in my descriptions and for me it can be hard, but it is a very worthy skill to have. As I get better at this I have found that there is a certain small joy in knowing the exactness of something and what you are able to put into words is really what it is. For those of you who have never been in the habit of exagerration, be thankful as it is not easy to break. I have had to correct myself many times, but slowly I have become more exact in my descriptions and I am thankful that this weak area is becoming more strong. And as Kamron discovered one of the fruits is that people can believe you when you speak, which is a nice feeling.

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