There is a French proverb “if you want the truth, ask a child”.
Recently, I have come to realize that this proverb is very accurate. If you want a true opinion about anything, children will be honest and will tell you the truth. Whether it is an opinion about a particular outfit or an unpleasant smell or the hair colour, children will not be shy to tell you just how they see it without any sugar-coating or trying to be politically correct.
Many times whilst dressing to go to a party, I would get my eldest commenting on my look along the lines of ‘you look beautiful mummy’ or ‘this dress looks terrible, I do not like the colour” or “these earings make your face look strange”. As brutal as some of the children’s comments can be, they are usually true and straight to the point. I must admit that I have changed a dress when my kids did not approve of my choice and have not regretted it.
Children’s opinions will often make you cry from laughing too hard as some comments are absolutely priceless. Once, whilst trying to explain to one of my kids why I cannot buy a particular toy, I stated that the toy is expensive and that I am not made out of money. To which my child wittily replied: “Mum, you need to tell your boss to pay you more as the whole reason we let you go to work is to earn money to buy us things. If you want, I can write him a note for you”. I did not buy that toy but had a good chuckle about it.
There are many more examples of kids making witty and humorous statements. My most favourite to date is: “Mum, do you know that in ancient times there were slaves? Well, I wish you were our slave as you would do everything for us and bring us stuff without complaining about it”. This statement is gold and to this day makes me smile.
In addition to their truthful declarations of opinions, children also possess an unbelievable ability to pick up on our habits and things we like and enjoy doing day after day. Driving to a concert a few days ago, I got a confirmation of just how much my children totally understand most of my basic needs and wants. My eldest, in his usual wisdom, asked me whether I would be stopping to get a coffee on the way. As his query was completely out of context, I asked him why he would pose such a question. He looked at me and replied with ‘but you really like coffee mum, and it makes you really happy”. Once again, my child was 100% right. Having coffee in the morning does make me really happy!
At what point in life do we lose that ability to be completely honest and freely speak our mind? When do we start filtering what we say and how we say it?
As a result of my recent observations, I have now made a promise to myself to take a lead from my children and to stop trying to be politically correct or telling half-truths not to hurt someone else’s feelings. At the end of the day, honesty is the best policy and it is now my preferred policy.