It happens: sometimes that filter in our head bursts and we say too much of what we’re thinking and someone gets hurt. Tell us about a time you or someone you know said something that they immediately regretted.
Often it is not what we say, but how; not just the words but also the tone. We sometimes are not as sensitive in our feelings towards others as we should be, that’s a given. Rather, we are usually more sensitive than what we need be when others speak to us. Becoming over-sensitive will stifle earnest and heartfelt conversations. Tact certainly has its place. Truth and honesty doesn’t require tact. Tact, if overused, might signal a hidden agenda beyond what is intended. It is always nice to preface our comments with kind words that may soften a landing, but it doesn’t have to be softened with honey. And we should never demand or expect tact.
For your reading pleasure today’s short story is about truth and tact. I hope you enjoy it.
Truth And Tact
“Daddy,” little five year old Danni said. “Why don’t you just tell me there is an Easter Bunny and Santa Clause? I’ll believe you.”
“Why are you asking, Danni?”
“All the kids in my class say there is and the teacher goes along with it,” Danni said.
“Does that confuse you?”
“The older kids don’t believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause and I really know they aren’t real so why do the parents of my friends and the teacher go along with something that’s not real?”
“It’s hard to know what their reasons are. Sometimes older people like parents and teachers don’t see any harm for a child to believe there are fairies, trolls, witches, Easter Bunnies, and Santa Clauses.”
“Why don’t you?” Danni said.
“When you get older you will come to me and your mother with some really tough questions. I don’t want you to ever think that the person giving you the answers was the same person who lied to you about the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause.”
“But what if they ask me, what should I tell them?” Danni said. “If I tell them the truth they might never believe their parents and teachers again.”
“That’s one of those tough questions. Always be honest. But if they ask and ask and ask tell them to ask their parents. That’s called ‘tact.’”
“So ‘tact’ is avoiding a fight?” Danni said.
“Is that something I can tell my friends about?’ Danni said.
“But I should still be careful, right?” Danni said.
“Yes, Danni, truth sometimes comes with some problems. And there will be times that not even tact will make it easier.”
“I’m glad you’re telling me these things now,” Danni said.