‘Does my bum look big in this?’ presents a dilemma. Do I answer with truth or kindness?
As a younger man I said that truth was more important. If I’m not telling the whole truth I’m lying. Lying’s always wrong: ‘Yes your bum does look big in that.’
As I’ve got older I’m more inclined to kindness. What does it matter if I bend the truth slightly? ‘No of course not… you look lovely.’
As a teacher… my legal responsibility was to teach the National Curriculum – English, maths, science… facts and skills… passing examinations…
…my moral responsibility was to help children to develop their characters, bringing out the best in their personalities, encouraging them to be good, considerate, kind, polite…
Which is more important? Learning or character? It’s a ‘big-bum’ dilemma.
Last night Boris Johnson survived a confidence vote to remain Prime Minister. 59% of Tory MPs supported him: he’s done a good job; now isn’t a good time to change; there are more important things to focus on.
41% voted against him. Following the partygate scandal and concern for his style of leadership they question how his honesty and moral integrity affect public trust and confidence.
Another ‘big-bum’ dilemma?
One of my parental responsibilities was to teach our children right from wrong… honesty, fairness, respect, loyalty… My children’s generation face more complex questions than I ever faced:
- …wants a phone; at what age should I buy him one?
- …thinks he’s gay; should I encourage him?
- …has credit card debt; what should I do?
- …is facing bereavement; how do I support her?
‘Big-bum’ dilemmas? My younger self said right and wrong were clear opposites; truth always takes priority. My older self is more inclined to kindness and compassion.
Musing… ‘Blessed is the man who finds wisdom… she is more profitable than silver… nothing you desire can compare with her.’ (Proverbs 3:13-15)
Praying… That my grandchildren will face ‘big-bum’ dilemmas with truth, kindness and wisdom.