Speaking Truth in Love
I have four grandsons and they are all my favorites. The youngest, who just turned nine is a fiery little redhead who lives life at 200 percent and is uncannily wise.
Often Will will ask me to come and watch him building his latest architectural creation in Minecraft. He's rather good at design and creativity -- or in Grandmother speak: "Amazing!" He asks me for input and rolls his eyes when I want to add window boxes and shutters. But we do agree on the vegetable gardens and ponds. He's actually quite good.
The other day he had been working hard on his latest creation for quite a while and took a break to play his mouth organ (harmonica). He's just beginning, but has -- well, "flourish."
"So, how do you like my playing?" he asked.
"Well, in what way?" I responded.
"If one is terrible and ten is great, what number would you give me?"
I thought about this for a while, because clearly, he has a long way to go. "Five," I said!
He looked at me- at first surprised and then with a big smile.
"Thank you for being honest, Shosho." (Shosho is what my grandsons call me). "I'm glad you said five because that is about right. And it's the truth."
"And is that a surprise?" I asked.
"Well, you're my Shosho and I know you love me, but sometimes I think it's not the best that you always say I'm wonderful and what I do is amazing --because that's not really true. When I go to school and think I'm totally amazing but I see that my friends and other kids don't think so, I could be really confused and upset. I'm not great at everything, but sometimes you make me think I am. So it's better that you tell me the truth."
Yikes! I thought to myself. I'm 72 and he's nine, and he just nailed it. One important component of love is respect that thinks enough of the other to tell the truth. I must admit, I pondered this for a bit. He was right.
"You, know, Will," I said, "You are right, and I will try better to respect you enough to tell you the hard truth, even when it's hard. But I do have one caveat -- I can always play the Grandmother card when the situation calls for it. Because you are an amazing grandson."
"Shosho!!!" he said and rolled his eyes and hugged me.
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