As a hospice worker I have enjoyed collecting end of life stories from many people. Especially enjoyable are the responses to, “What would be your advice for young people today?”
To this question Ralph responded with firm conviction, “I would tell them to be honest, to be totally honest.” Wearing supplemental oxygen he was very aware of his limited life expectancy. Stories from his own experiences as a logger and deep love for his grandchildren emphasized his answer. When the boss in a logging outfit for which he’d worked 15 years began telling “injurious whoppers,” Ralph told him, “Well, just bring my paycheck in the morning so I can go home.” His boss promptly changed his story.
Honesty is foundational in bringing peace and justice to any area of human relations—whether interpersonal or international, politics, business, work, family, education, sports, crime control, helping the needy, or any other sort of ministry. One author who interviewed over 1,000 elderly people found this to be the number one emphasis in their—what he termed— “expert” opinions. Hal Urban, who taught in high school and college for 35 years, wrote a book titled Life’s Greatest Lessons. He states, “Honesty Is Still The Best Policy is the most important chapter of the book.”
Honesty includes thoughts, words, and actions—not always easy to assess. Should I tell my wife that I don’t like her new dress? In Philippians 2:4-5, Paul states, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Quakers emphasizing honesty will continue to impact peace and justice throughout the world. You are part of this.
Contributed by Ken Magee, Klamath Falls Friends