Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thumper's Rule

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," was Thumper's etiquette advice.

I think my version of this would be: "If I can't say it to someone's face, don't say anything at all."

Avoiding gossip? We all know that's what we're supposed to do. And yet for years I have meddled in the lives of my children, trying to help them get along, trying to help smooth things over, sympathizing here, explaining there.

I don't want to do this any more. Interfering between adult children is a bad idea, because mediating a relationship means there's not really a relationship. Although it hurts my mother heart when my children are in conflict, I need to get out of the way and allow my children to be honest and real with one another, instead of avoiding issues. My children end up negotiating around the elephant in the living room, because they're trying to keep me happy.

Joseph Smith said, "I teach my people correct principles, and let them govern themselves." If my family members aren't governing themselves very well, I still need to get out of their way. I have taught them the best I can, and I will continue to offer encouragement (always) and counsel (when they ask for it), but I will stop talking out of two sides of my face, stop trying to agree with everyone, stop trying to make everyone happy.

I will be honest. If I can't be honest and kind, I will be quiet. I choose love, I choose kindness, I choose to not take sides.

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