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What We're Reading Now

Both True and Kind

1 June 2019

Rachel read The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack with illustrations from Giselle Potter and appreciated that the struggle to be thoughtfully candid isn't confined to the workplace.

Tags: communication, feedback, picture books, rachel read, thoughtful candor

One of the reasons I'm enjoying this year's blog series of picture books is that many of these stories provide such good examples of the grown-up skills we try to teach and practice at Allison Partners. One of the concepts that means a lot to us is thoughtful candor, and while we usually talk about it in the context of work, our ability to practice it certainly impacts all of our relationships. When my friend Eboni Bugg first told me that something I said about thoughtful candor reminded her of The Honest-to-Goodness Truth, I couldn't wait to read about Libby and her journey to learn about good truth-telling.

Libby is a pretty typical kid, as evidenced by the doodles on the book's end papers. After getting caught with (and punished for) a lie, she commits to telling all the truth, all the time. Unfortunately for Libby (and even more unfortunately for her friends), this results in hurtful declarations, tattling, shaming, and a pretty lonely Libby. Fortunately, Libby has a very wise Mama, who says, “‘Sometimes the truth is told at the wrong time or in the wrong way, or for the wrong reasons. And that can be hurtful. But the honest-to-goodness truth is never wrong.’”

Libby goes on to make amends and practice telling the honest-to-goodness truth, talking with each of the “victims of her truth-telling.” Last on her list was Miz Tusselbury, who surprised Libby by thanking her for her candor the day before. Libby didn't understand since her neighbor had been pretty angry, when Miz Tusselbury said, “‘The truth is often hard to chew. But if it is sweetened with love, then it is a little easier to swallow.’”

And isn't that the truth? When we get caught up in telling the truth for our purposes — to feel right, to make a point, to demonstrate superiority — it often doesn't get us the results (or relationships) we want. But when we take time to tell the truth with care, whether that's telling a friend about the spinach in her teeth privately instead of in front of everyone, or pausing to share our intention as well as our observation when delivering negative feedback, we get more of what we want. And that's pretty much always a good thing.

.  .  .  .  .  .

In May, I practiced feeling free. My word for June is kind. I always appreciate (and aspire to) kindness, and Libby is good inspiration. This month, I'll be on the lookout for the kindness around me, and I'll work to more deliberately share some as I go about my days. I feel as though we all could use a little extra kindness right about now.


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