Letter from the editor: Your opinion is definitely not the truth

Letter from the Editor: Your opinion is definitely not the truth

The older my kids get, the more I understand strongly that I can tell them all the right things that were told to me and it will never make a difference unless I model them myself. Today, my daughter and son got into a yelling match; one called the other boring and, of course, there was utter chaos. I had a long chat with my daughter, the perpetrator of the boring tag, and asked her why she thought her brother was boring. She rattled off a list that seemed perfectly logical to her, ending her argument with a flourish, saying, “I say it because it’s the truth.” I had to work very hard to tell her that just because she thought he was boring it doesn’t mean that that was the truth. If that was the case, then everything that people said about her or to her would be the truth. And while it didn’t visibly make any difference, I am hoping it will sink in somewhere. I couldn't quite convince her that her opinion wasn't the truth. So the question she asked was, “When it’s the truth, why can’t I say it?” I tackled that with if the truth is going to hurt someone then it’s best not to say it. And, here, I had to stop myself. What was I telling her? Was I once more teaching a girl child to be less expressive of her opinions, less vocal? Was I not going to be in a position some time in the future where I might have to tell her some truths at the cost of hurting her?


I have no answers yet, and I hope she will always have this strong sense of self she displays even though it is exceedingly frustrating for me. I hope she will learn to tread the fine line between choosing to tell the truth because it is important and choosing to not tell the truth because it is hurtful. I will never know; all I can do is hope for the best.


Speaking of truths, do we always honestly tell our children what life is about? Do we teach them the truth about being happy? Maybe some of us do, maybe we don’t. But for now, a large number of parents agree that being successful in the world in the material sense of the word brings happiness. To succeed, one needs to do well in school. This week, we pushed my young colleague Maitri to put down exactly what she did to be a topper in class, consistently. At the risk of embarrassing herself by sounding like she was gloating, she gave us some really nice tips on how to be an A student.  


And since we can’t ignore the near-epidemic spread of chikungunya and dengue in cities such as Delhi and Bombay, a couple of doctors gave us tips on how you should protect yourself from mosquitoes that cause these diseases, but more importantly, our resident nutritionist, Dr Shahana Hamza, gave us tips on what to feed your kids (and maybe yourself) if you’ve come down with either of those (we hope not!) and are recovering. Finally, this week’s round up is completed by how to deal with siblings who think you are a referee and not a living, feeling human being. I constantly hear from my kids that I love the other more. Sometimes, I am tempted to say I love neither. But I think I’ll keep that for when they turn teenagers.