Honesty In Action

Toby and I have been warned before ‘children give you very honest feedback’ and I can confirm this to be true! After spending nearly a week with her Grandparents while we ran a course, India preferred tonight to be picked up and cuddled by her Gran. Feedback for Mum and Dad. It’s simply her truth right now. We know where we stand.

I wonder if there is an inherent presumption that if ‘children’ give you honest feedback that ‘adults’ don’t? Certainly it seems to get more complicated, ‘what does this person want to hear? Expect to hear? ‘what do I want this person to think of me? That I am nice? Honest? Helpful? Challenging? – I’m sure my one year old does not bother with these complicated set of filters. Not yet anyway.

Feedback, and giving feedback has been a core theme on our recent master practitioner. And the ‘honest’ stuff – that is the most useful. Although sometimes this truth carries a price tag. Sometimes rapport. Yet, if we can somehow set aside the ‘what will this person think?’ filter, and simply deliver our truth, with no motive or plan, then we give a real gift. Our truth. Honesty.

I wonder, can you set aside what is comfortable, what is easy, pleasant, friendly? Can you care for someone so much that you are prepared to risk your relationship with them?

I feel thankful tonight that India can give us her honest feedback (even although it was a bitter pill to swallow) and that I too have delivered my truth this week. I suspect the long term cost of not being and speaking our truth is far greater than the short term convenience of avoiding what may feel uncomfortable.


By |2016-12-19T17:30:26+00:00November 19th, 2010|Honesty|4 Comments


  1. Harry 20/11/2010 at 4:03 am - Reply

    I always aspire to a childlike carelessness when giving feedback – because not only is it honest, but it’s often quite funny. The danger of it has been amply demonstrated here by the fact that keeps getting hammered home to me: Because we live in a world of manners, political correctness and excessive social contracts, recipients of feedback often take it in a way that seems to think: Well if you overlooked all of those things, you must be out to hurt me!

    And be careful not to apply your filters of meaning about what getting picked up and cuddled means to India. She might not mean “I love Gran more” though she almost definitely does. She might not mean “I feel safer with Gran” even though she’s almost certainly not (grandparents have a tendency to fall over). It might just mean “Her boobs are squishy and comfortable and she feeds me lollies” – that’s honest feedback. You’ve invested your life into her, and are naturally inclined to think that she’ll recognise and appreciate that. She won’t, not until she’s a mum and your squishy boobs are cuddling her children and it’s India’s turn to become envious.

    The provocative reply is never far away…

  2. Jaz Binning 22/11/2010 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Amazed at how relevant your post about raising a child and feedback is relevant to us caring for elderly parents. To me it seems, old age can be a second childhood but with increase dependance rather than independance.

    Even in a cloud of dementia dad can give very honest feedback that really hurts and knocks the wind out of my sails. However, it is necessary and I think it makes me stronger and more flexible to be able to adjust my strategy to get the desired result that benefits dad and the rest of the family. Unfortunately, maybe due to the progessing dementia, dad does not seem to be able to use the feedback we give him.

    Mum, with her mental health issues, on the other hand does not communicate much verbally and explicitly. We are the ones giving her feedback that she finds challenging and honest… she hates it and this causes problems in itself. We have to create an environment for her to be able to make changes and learn in her own way safely. And she has flourished!!! 🙂

    The greatest value of honest feedback has been 1. with myself and 2. with my wife. Honest feedback (sometimes harsh and very challenging) has helped me continue to grow personal and care for folks since the age of 8… and still have my own life. It has also helped my wife and I to become closer, more positive more supportive of each other, more stronger than ever. 🙂

  3. Jaz Binning 22/11/2010 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    sorry for the typos. New strategy to proof read in place 🙂

  4. Marty 12/01/2011 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    “Can you care for someone so much that you are prepared to risk your relationship with them?”
    I really challenging statement. Prehaps this is what true giving is. In others words, not to expect anything back. If we do, then it is arguably not giving in the true sense, but a form of a contract with the expectation of return.
    Great article. Thank you.

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