“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” (Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast)
When I first began presenting my book, Martin the Marlin, to large groups of children, I’d find myself getting anxious. Oddly enough, I wasn’t concerned about what the teachers might think of what I had to say. I was worried about how I’d relate to the children — and how they’d relate to me. Then I remembered two things:
First, I remembered, as a child, wishing adults would tell me the truth … about anything … about everything. I knew I could handle it. I was less sure about the adults. But that never go to be an issue, since they seemed to scrutinize — then soften, sugarcoat, or sanitize — almost every word they uttered. I knew I deserved better and could manage more.
Second, I remembered, as a professional adult, recognizing that clients would respond more positively to the truth, even if it was less then favorable. I also noticed that brands represented truthfully were more successful than those that practiced aspirational marketing (a euphemism for fake it till you make it). Astute as I am, I began to sense a correlation. (And people say I’m slow?)
All adults were children. Children long for truth. Therefore, all adults must long for truth. A + B = C.
After that epiphany, my anxiety subsided. I realized all I had to do, regardless of the number of children assembled, was tell the truth. And since children have infallible BS meters — and haven’t yet adopted all the fears and trepidations of adults — they had an even easier time accepting the truth than I had telling it.
Then I knew: As children go, so goes the world. Tell the truth.
What’s your experience with telling the truth — to children or adults? Please share it with us in the Comment box below.