I was super excited about my new black dress. Almost every piece of clothing I own is black. Or red. Or both. But they are my favorite colors. And I had a new black dress!
It was graduation day and all my sweet seniors were going on to the great unknown – I wasn’t going to miss a moment.
The staging room was a sea of blue when I arrived, nervous kids asking for help pinning a bobby pin to a cap or straightening their honor cords.
When I spotted some of my kiddos in the front row – the valedictorians and salutatorians (yep, there are always several of each at our high school), I bee-lined my way to give very large bear hugs of congratulations.
But you see, let me set this up for you.
The front row of val/sals FACES the rest of the graduates. It is set up just like the actual event will be when the kids emerge from the basement, walk up the ramp, and enter the literal coliseum surrounded by all the people who have loved them through the last 18 years.
But, I digress.
The front row FACES the rest. So as I was doing my Wisehart hugging thing, I would bend over to hug the neck of each seated honoree, my behind facing the other 600 blue clad grads.
Finally I heard a kind of hissing noise — a “psssssst” kind of sound that I finally recognized as a stealth attention getter by one of my students in the front row.
“Mrs. Wisehart.” Ethan was beckoning me. “Come here.”
I smiled and prepared myself for another bear hug, but Ethan’s eyes told me he had an urgent story to tell, so I paused the hug for a few minutes later.
“Mrs. Wisehart, I know this is awkward. But I didn’t want to let you walk out in front of all those people with a big rip in the back of your dress.”
Good thing I don’t embarrass easily, because I think they kids were ALL already embarrassed enough for me. All the kids sitting beside him kind of looked everywhere but at me. I thanked him and assured him there was nothing awkward about it — sincerely I appreciated the heads up.
Sidenote: school is awesome, because there are teachers with every expertise present at every school event. Think about it. Seriously.
So I grabbed Renee, who ironically is the culinary gal, but she is also pretty handy with the sewing kit I knew she would have in her purse, and she patched me right up (albeit awkwardly since she had to hike up my dress to fix it). She was my superhero of the day.
If you’re asking yourself what the point is, I’m getting there.
You see, if there’s one thing about friendship I really cherish, it’s honesty. Pure, raw, real, honesty. I’m a loyal kinda girl, and I value loyalty.
I guess it wouldn’t have been THAT big of deal had I marched around with a gaping hole in the rear end of my dress. After all, I did have tights on underneath. But it might have been a distraction to the event, and there is NO WAY I would want to detract from the honor my students received on their long, 18 year, awaited day.
But I don’t just value honesty in friendship. I really love it in my marriage. I take my husband clothes shopping all the time because I know he will tell me the truth – in love.
And I guess that’s just it.
Truth is so important in friendship. But truth on its own isn’t what I value. It’s the love part that really sticks. You see, I really believe Ethan told me because he values me and our relationship, and he didn’t want to see me get hurt (or frankly, humiliated).
I’ve seen a lot of people just “give the hard truth”. And I guess that’s okay, but REAL accountability and REAL friendship are so much more than that. They require truth with REAL LOVE – the kind that doesn’t want to see people get hurt or humiliated or harmed or… you understand.
It’s all about the motive of your truth. Why are you telling them the truth? Is there a little part of you that wants to “stick it to ’em”? Or do you love them so much you don’t want to leave them the same? (or with a hole in the hiney, in my case)
I learn a lot from my students. And I hope I can pass on a few nuggets of wisdom in my years as a teacher. But that day, I was super proud of a kid who wanted to tell the truth…with a little love thrown in.
SUPER IMPORTANT NEWS! My book, Choose: An Invitation to the Best Day Ever Adventure launched on October 10, 2017! Based on the John 10:10 idea that Jesus came so we can have life to the FULL, each of the 21 chapters has a challenge, a choice, and a change for YOU to live the Best Day Ever Adventure Jesus has for YOU! I hope you’ll grab it on Amazon!
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Choose joy, friends!
Living the best day ever adventure,