The Substance of Faith

The Substance of Faith

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Shall We Tell the Children?

A friend in the community  recently told me of a situation where a young mother was diagnosed with cancer.  “They decided not to tell the children (teenagers),” she informed me. No one asked my opinion in this particular situation, but I think it is a bad idea to withhold that information.  In today’s Facebook-driven, Twitter-filled world – there are no secrets. The children will find out.

Some examples.   Family X has a student off at college.  Father X is diagnosed with cancer and surgery is scheduled for Friday.  They decide not to tell Student X, because they don’t want to upset her.  The X family, however, lives next door to the Y family.  Wife Y puts on her Facebook page “please pray for our neighbor who will have cancer surgery Friday. “  The X family’s daughter, off at college, sees neighbor Y’s Facebook page and frantically tries to get in touch with her parents to see what is happening.  Is that really how the family wanted her to find out?

Family A receives a dire prognosis for Grandfather M, who is still sedated from surgery.  They decide to wait a few days before telling Grandfather M how serious the future looks.  But, granddaughter M tweets to her friends how sad it makes her to think about living without her grandfather.  She never mentions they are not telling Grandfather M his own prognosis.  A well-meaning visitor to the hospital has seen the Tweet and expresses sympathy to Grandfather M for the anticipated shortness of his reaming life.  The next moment is awkward and painful for everyone.  How does a friend know, but the patient, whose information it is, doesn’t? Remember: there are no secrets.  We need to tell the people near us the news that we don’t want them hearing from someone else.

Additionally, remember to be respectful with someone else’s information.  Emails asking friends to pray for a neighbor make their way around the entire country, while the neighbor’s family is still deciding how to tell the people nearest them.  I had a cycling accident last year.  It took about 20 minutes to get upright and shake the fuzziness out of my head.  THE FIRST THING I did have a friend take my picture with my cell phone so I could text it to my wife.  I didn’t want her to hear from someone else and worry whether or not she had the whole story.  I wanted to tell her what happened.

at the scene

Too late. She had already heard.  So, before you post information about other people on Facebook, or before you text 3rd parties about circumstances in their lives, make sure they’ve had a chance to tell the people they want to tell.  Of course they want your prayers.  But they would appreciate not being the subject of your information “scoop.”

Repeat after me: “There are no secrets.”   Tell the people you love what they need to know.  Right now.  Because they will find out -with you or without you.

Repeat after me: “There are no secrets.” Then ask yourself, “Do I want to be the person who circumvents the right of my friends to tell important information to the people they care about most?”


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