Dequoted: Michael J. Fox

A couple of my friends on Facebook have shared this image with these words.

mjfquoteAlthough there are no quote marks and an actual written indication of Fox saying it, one is still lead to believe that he, in fact, did say this.  Many of the comments reflect this.  I did a quick google search to see who said this and there is no evidence he came up with this phrase.  It is accredited to Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada who was a ventriloquist, motivator and educational consultant.  Many sources listed that he is the original person who said this.  There is actually little I could find on him except the fact that he had said this and lived in Texas and passed away in 2010.

Maybe that is why Fox was chosen as the representative.  It makes it more credible than to have a person (not famous) pictured there.  Plus, Fox brings with him a certain level of credibility because he has faced his illness head on and openly with the public.  Whatever the reason for doing this, I think that it is still not justified.

The other element of this quote is in which much of the context.  What is the context?  Is it to insult teachers and the profession?  Is it actively open a discussion about how children are taught because this is the root cause of many problems in educational systems?  I’m open to a discussion about it.

I personally do not agree with this quote from an institutional perspective.  It seems rather harsh and backwards to not agree.  Like I am not open to a child’s struggle to learn.  In fact, children can have difficulty learning – they are learning disabilities.  And if a child has this I do believe that the learning style should be adjusted and the manner in which they learn should be altered.  Outside of having a disability and a lower IQ, what is this quote addressing?  If it were addressing children with disabilities and lower IQs then, I would venture that the quote could have mentioned this.  Maybe Estrada was identifying the fact that children with disabilities can not go through the main stream educational system?

Let’s say he wasn’t.  Let’s say he was addressing children with no learning disabilities and IQs that allow them to learn.  Was he saying that the main stream educational system in the USA needs to be altered?  Maybe or maybe not.

I think the context of this quote is from a more broader scale.  It is the teaching, education our children receive all around.  Whether that is within the classroom or at home.  A child’s style of learning should be considered in all aspects of their life – not just in the classroom.  Children learn not only from school or from their teachers but mostly from their parents or primary caregivers.  Maybe we, as parents, need to think about how our children learn from us.  Have we adopted or altered our form of teaching at home?  Do as I say not as I do, sound familiar?  Do parents adjust their styles to each child so the child learns better?

I struggle with this quote when it is used to attack a profession that is so important yet so disrespected.  Teachers, schools get blamed for their children’s grades, their behaviours, their eating habits.  The educational institution, no doubt, should evolve and look at new tools to aid our children’s basic education skills and yet, so should we.

What are your thoughts?

Is honesty always the best policy?

That question is loaded.  If it is the best policy, then why do we lie.  I lie.  We all lie.  I’m almost confident that we all lie or have lied.  Humans are imperfect and lying is a part of that imperfection.

I have lied.  In fact, I lied a lot when I was a teenager, a university student and a young adult.  And today, what’s my track record? – it’s getting better.  I lie a lot less.  Not because I found this to be the best policy in all situations – but because I’ve started to dig a little deeper and be a little bit more honest with myself.  The more honest I am with myself, the less I have to lie to people.

When you’re a young, it seems like an experiment.  To see what you can get away with.  I think we learn to lie when we catch our parents (or primary caregivers) in one and see that they got away with it.  We see that isn’t so bad to lie and that there aren’t bad consequences (if not caught) and there actually can be good consequences (like making someone feel better).  When puberty hit, I got better at crafting them.

Somewhere along the line, we hopefully get straightened out – usually by facing a bad consequence.  Good consequence – making my friend feel better about her latest jean purchase.  Bad consequence – running into the person that you told you were too busy that night to go out.  And there are worse consequences.

So, we adjust our lies.  Is that the lesson we learn?  Lie to protect, spare someone negative feelings.  When the end justifies the means?  Don’t lie on the really important stuff – like your resume (CV)?  But isn’t it all important stuff.  Telling your friend she looks good in a dress when her breasts are about to pop out or the fact her underwear can be seen – is that justifiable?

If you had asked me a few years ago is honesty the best policy – I would have answered a really loud – NO, NON, NEE, NIN!

Because until recently, some of the lies I’ve told have spared me a lot of pain, grief, anger and agony.  Sparing myself these emotions hasn’t made be any happier, jollier or grateful btw.

Probably, the most consistent lie I have told many of my friends is that I have a great relationship with my parents.  That is the biggest, ugliest lie to date.  And the longest running one.  And this is a very hard lie to keep up.  I have had to create more lies to cover up the original and it is exhausting.

Why?  It wasn’t that I went out and started to tell the lie from Day One.  I learned that telling the truth – I have an unhealthy relationship with them – brought severe judgment from my friends and people I dearly loved.  It was a very painful experience – telling the truth.  It felt like a knife was stabbed into my heart – the physical hurt was unbearable.

I needed to survive, as I went out into the world (leaving my parents home).  Survival not only on paying my rent but also emotional pain.  Lying was such an easy solution.  It spared me the moments of utter shame.  I could at least walk away breathing.

It took me a while (recovery process) to see what I was doing to myself.  I was lying so people wouldn’t see my imperfections.  The severe judgments were not about my parents, they were about me.  I was seen as flawed because I couldn’t get along with my parents – I am adult now – the teenager not ‘getting along’ with his/her parents was not holding up with my friends of similar age.  Immaturity was the kindest judgement, the others were a lot harsher – my parents are unhealthy therefore, I must be as well – the apple doesn’t fall from the tree?  And with this flaw I am no longer a good enough friend, I might lose the connection I had with them.  And not having parents that I felt connected with made me that much more anxious to preserve my friendships in my life – hold on to them tight.  Do what I need to keep them as friends – lying was a nice alternative.

One of the things I learned is that being honest with myself and about my relationships was an important key to all of the pain I had been going through.  Lying more and better wasn’t going to reduce the pain of any of it.  I had to admit that when I begin to share the truth I had to allow my friends to tell me who they were.  It may mean that I lose friends along the way or it may mean I develop a deeper, more authentic connection with them.  As I started telling the truth I went all over the place, I went to extremes – which I learned later is natural when truly changing one’s behaviours.  I told too much of my relationship – causing fear in some of my friends.  Some are just not prepared to hear our stories and that’s okay.  I still am honest.  I no longer say that I have a great relationship with them.  I tell people we are not close.  And I let my friends speak for themselves.  The one’s that are ready to hear it, ask questions to understand, the one’s that don’t – change the subject.  Both responses are okay for me – they tell me something loud and clear and with honesty.

And what about my friends that ask me if they look good in a dress or a pair of jeans?  Believe it or not, I think honesty works here too.  This is a tough one because we don’t want our friends to feel bad about their body or weight.  The question is really, what do they think about the outfit.  I ask them ‘do you think it looks good on you?’.  And what is hard for some friends is to look in the mirror and see themselves realistically.  Often, my friends are looking for validation or invalidation.  If they do see that the jeans make their butt look a bit weird – then they are hoping that you don’t see it too.  They don’t want you to validate that by saying ‘No’ – because who would do this to a friend?  If my friends push for my opinion, I still am kind and gentle but honest.  That cut of jeans doesn’t seem to work, another one would work.  Maybe, your friend might have some shame about it – which is different than trying to shame her intentionally.  Who knows, you could have saved your friend from spending 250 euros (or any other currency)!

So, in your experience, is honesty always the best policy?  When is it okay to lie?