Saturday, June 7, 2014

Children: Speaking Their Mind

One thing children are good at is saying it like it is. My home life was like that, although in many nations the culture dictates that much is left unsaid. Children do not have such inhibitions and do not understand how there needs to be a balance between saying what is on their mind and thinking of the impact of their words on others. Words can indeed be hurtful.

I had to learn tact. When I was about three years old, we lived in a hot place, at a time when deodorants and antiperspirants were unheard of. Regular bathing and perfume were essential to avoid body odour. I was out at a function when I told a lady she smelt. She was horrified and my mother embarrassed. My mother couldn't understand why I said that when the lady always had a nice perfume smell.

The lady said a small child doesn't come up with something like that on its own, I must have heard my parents speaking about it at home. My mother assured her that they had never discussed it and my mother said that the lady always smelt nice. However, she could not be pacified and continued her line of complaint.

Eventually my mother's patience wore thin and her outspokenness came to the fore. She said that they had had better things to talk about at home than that, and that all she could say was he has a nose of his own. The lady then stormed off. I got told it was not nice to say those things and I realised the 'stink' it had caused.

Some time later my mother found out that I didn't like perfume and that was the smell I was talking about. The lady wore a lot of it, perhaps to mask a perspiration problem she had. He sensitivity to the subject caused her outburst.

So a child's honesty is refreshing, but at times too blunt. I learned to be tactful and now butter doesn't melt in my mouth, I am so winsome with my words.

PS. The picture of me that comes with this blog is from about this time.

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