Saturday, January 31, 2009

A thin line.... real or pretend?

I don't have a lot of time. I want to finish this post and my house cleaning before my sweet man comes home from taxi service. He is picking up our youngest at one birthday party and delivering her to another one. Such a busy little life. What a sweet man to do that so that I could stay home and clean the house... or blog.

I have been thinking about something since last Wednesday night. Actually, I have thought about it before... but I haven't come to a conclusion yet.

I believe in being real. I have learned that God desires for his people to be real. The world is hurting... the world is struggling... and if they look at us and think that we are "perfect"... then they will never think that they can measure up or be "good enough" to be a christian. Does that make sense??? So... I believe in being real. If you have read my blog much... you know that I have allowed God to use our struggles to show His power and what He is doing in my life. The inside is what counts. Eternity is what counts.

Anyway... with that said, last Wednesday night as we left church... I could sense there might have been a little problem when I got into the car. I could tell that my man was a little "undone". As it turns out... my teenager was a little too honest and critical when asked by the childrens' pastor how she thought youth group was going now that we have a new youth minister. Her sweet answer was, "boring". Now... I am sorry... I want my children to learn to be honest and real. I don't want them to learn to "pretend" about everything in their life... to make others think that things are just hunky-dorey... when they are not. I think that pretending leads to more pretending... and I don't like that. BUT.... neither did I like the humiliating feeling that came over me when I found out what she said. I gave her a little "talking to" about only saying things that are nice.... keeping her negatives to herself. To put that beautiful smile on her face and act like she loved it. To be happy while she was there.

Gee... I realized I was telling her to wear a mask while she is there. What??? That doesn't sound like what I believe in. But first of all.... everything short of text messaging 8000 times per month is boring to her. So... boring is probably not an accurate description of what is going on in youth group. But... the whole time I was talking to her... I kept feeling my insides cringing because I want my chidlren to learn to be "real". There I was telling her to put on a mask and pretend. Maybe.... I just want that later in their life. But can practice pretending for 20 years and then change cold-turkey and open up and be real with others?

Does that make sense?? I think there is a thin line between being "real" and pretending. I guess I want the real to be about their lives... not their opinion of others lives.

I was quite embarrassed. I wanted to just crawl in a hole. Maybe... I won't see the childrens' pastor for a while... and he will forget about their conversation by then.

This is just a quick thought on the matter.... I will continue to ponder it. I just think that it is a thin line trying to teach this to my children. When to be real... and when it is okay to pretend.


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Beverly said...

Hey girl thanks for the post.
this really spoke to me a bunch.
I pray that I am always real to people and that what I show and present to others is who I am, but the most of all I want to be real with God. He knows who I really am but He also wants me to show Him too no pretending or putting on with Him. Thanks for the reminder as I go about my day.
-love ya my Tuesday BSF

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Lynn! That's a tough one. Kindness and gentleness with honesty/being real is something that many Christians struggle with.I do. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so sometimes, I say nothing. And that's not always the best way. We've talked to the boys about this as well. But,each situation is different. This is one that praying about now will help out if you have another similar situation. I hope that made sense!!


Paula (SweetPea) said...

It totally makes sense, Lynn, and I understand what you are saying. It is a fine line and I think it can be especially hard for younger folks. I mean, in my mind now of many years of analytical and logical thinking, yes, I think I could skurt that line and be polite while being honest. However, in a teens mind, do they know how to describe it in polite but real terms beyond saying "boring". Not everyone knows how to speak the truth with that edge of politeness and honesty. I'm not saying your daughter doesn't. But I could never have come up with a polite and honest answer beyond "boring" at that age. At my age now, sense I am more descriptive and detailed in my answers and words, I could describe how something (say youth group) isn't what I desire verses what I don't desire. Actually, I've done this exact thing with my small group leader...basically telling her my experience of small groups, what our group does/doesn't have, all while sharing my desire to mold our group with her into something God desires. Now, does that make sense?

You are so takes love, honesty, tact, articulation, to share what's real and not be hurtful.

Tracy said...

I agree Lynn, this is a hard one. I always want to "speak the truth in love," but that's not always easy. More often than not, I err on the side of quiet (if I can't say something nice, I won't say anything at all). Not only is this not being "real," it sometimes results in bitterness and resentment toward that person. I guess the best compromise is praying about how to approach a person and then as lovingly as you possibly can, saying what you need to say. (Certainly easier for adults than kids!) Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

Blessings, sweet friend.

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Hi Lynn~
This truly is a thought provoking post.

Honestly...even in it's kindest format, can often be painful to hear, and something that isn't appreciated...YET...God does LONG for us to be REAL...HONEST...and OPEN. Yet, we need to be kind.....and fine line to walk.

Having a teenager at home myself...the word 'boring" often comes flying easy...each time I ask him about youth group too.

In our case...youth group is: about fun...and when I have a teenager tell me it's "boring"..I'm jumping for joy...because that tells me he's longing for something deeper.

Now, I'm not saying that's the same case for your child...BUT..I will say...ALL kids want boundaries...guidelines...etc....regardless of their age...and since they are a 'tough' group to reach...this tells me...that our child is looking for something more...and that my great.

I have also had conversations with my children that when we are involved in things (even in the church) that we don't like...these are GREAT character building times. We've sat down with our kids...and walked them through how to approach those in leadership with their thoughts and concerns. We are NEVER out of order when we go with love...and tell someone how we really feel.

I'll be praying for your family.....

desert_rose said...

I just have to laugh..... my 13 year old has the same Problem. Only she told the my pastor that the new youth director was BORING and he never even asked...... To me the honesty was refreshing.. It is what it is... So what, the youth director will get over it. It is a pretty small thing in the scope of life..

jcdisciple said...

I'm not a teenager and I struggle with the same thing. It seems every time I get "REAL" OPEN AND HONEST...even if it is about my own problems...I take heat for it. In our culture everybody is okay with truth just so long as it doesn't make them uncomfortable and it lines up with their own version of it. In other words, don't dare share what's going on inside of you if it might offend me, make me uncomfortable, or reveal any weaknesses on your part or long as it doesn't do can tell the truth. Well that doesn't leave much does it? I agree and would have been embarrassed by the way in which your daughter probably declared her "boring" response, but I imagine that if this pastor has any experience and understanding of youth at all...he was not offended. It's almost like getting mad at a two year old for saying, "'ve been in the potty a long time" in public. Teenagers have a lot going on inside and they need somewhere where they can feel safe to share it. I'm 30 years old this year and I am realizing that I am still dealing with issues in my life that I have never had a safe place to share and I just wonder if I had had that as a younger person if the Lord wouldn't have to be dealing with so much of it now. I don't have a teenager yet, and I don't really look forward to it because I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to be when I grow up, but I imagine that explaining to your daughter how it hurts when someone is so blatantly honest with her could affect someone else in the same way, but she still needs to know that she can express that she is dissatisfied with it. I mean, he kind of asked for, he did ask her. Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much either way...just love her and let her know you aren't afraid of what she is feeling and you want her to share it...and pray a lot...I know you already do.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I'm pretty sure he won't forget, but he will accept it for what it's worth...

a teenager's raw and real honesty.

There's more going on here, and I think it a good occasion to talk to her about her remarks, perhaps even suggesting that she further the conversation with the leader involved.

Real communication is a two way street; there's nothing wrong with her opinion. Always feeling the need to speak it is another thing. I know. It's been my issue for years. Assure her that she's in good company.

Great thoughts, Lynn. Hope all is well.


Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hey Lynne,

Well, learning to be real has totally changed my life since we did that bible study. I realized through it that I've been an actress much of my life. -- So I'm with you on being REAL. God USES "real" not fake. I think the key is to learn "tact." How to speak truth... lovinging and in a positive LIGHT. Like.. when answering a question that you know will hurt feelings, to.. build up rather than tear down. Tell positive things... and then "add" the "harder to take" answer in a positive way. -- what a GREAT blog post today. You gave me so much to think about.
Your daughter is honest! THATS A GOOD THING! The next time he again asks for a TRUE OPINION... he'll KNOW she speaks truth.

Angela said...

What came to my mind when I read this was from my own experiences when my children say and do something like this,,I think it is a reflection upon my parenting, that I haven`t done a `good enough`, these thoughts go with that because I`m thinking of`what must the other people be thinking of my children`. bla bla bla bla. I can`t say how many times God has spoken to me through my children ...I truly believe this was and is a teachable moment sis,,and when I go through them, my prayer is now,,`Lord, help me to see what You are trying to teach me through this and help me to receive it``...great post!!I LOVE and value other`s that are honest and real!!! You definitely are one of them girl!!