Honesty, with words

May 06, 2016

Honesty, with words


Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #21
Rite of Passage Seven –A Fate Worse Than Death–
(1951-1953) Age 17-19 years old

Q: What advice would you give your young adult children when they first leave home? Did you do that, or did you keep it to yourself?


When I left home for the first time it was to join the British Army for two years of National Service. My father had served during the war years and was deeply concerned about the ‘risk’ I faced should I be selected for the Army Catering Corps that he often advised would be ‘a fate worse than death’. In order to avoid this happening he arranged for me to work at a local garage, owned by a customer, so that I could enter ‘garage mechanic’ as my last employment.

I was sent for my basic training to the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (R.E.M.E) and earmarked as a Radar Mechanic and potential officer.

My father had put a good deal of effort into briefing me about my new life and his advice was truly wonderful: it eased my way and eventually opened up my earliest experience with success. 

What neither parent were able to do was provide me with a word about…life, as a solo young adult. To have done so would have meant treading on thin ‘Victorian’ ice. Both of them were raised by parents who had strong biases against ever mentioning the word ‘sex’ let alone providing advice on the matter!

On my very last night of ‘freedom’ my dad had wanted to know how I might behave whilst drunk…that didn’t work out as planned because two beers were enough. So, I was released from that early experiment into the big bold world with only the bare bones of how to manage my immediate ‘working’ environment –not a word about my personal choices…or virtues?

So…what about now?

Just by observation I was aware that my parents were honest people, they were known and valued as such. This obvious ‘virtue’ was one that I have always tried my hardest to replicate; even when it was against my self-interest…especially so…as you will discover. I had to learn about sex from our Polish headwaiter Teddy who was increasingly concerned about my apparent unschooled innocence about young women. Honesty, for me, was found in the scrupulous handling of money; not one penny belonging to someone else would ever wind up in my own pocket.

Unfortunately that virtue did not extend to the ‘telling truth –honesty’. I had a fertile imagination added to my fear of failure and my concern with coming from the ‘servant class’. All of this led me into several highly complicated ’inventions’. How I wish my folks had sat me down and told me to be content with who I really was. It’s so good to be in that place today and be able to share who I am with you.

P.S. This week I read Treena’s poem Hands


  1. Karl Says: 3:33 am

    In my German Roman Catholic home the topic of Sex/Lust was absolutely Tabu.Never mentioned,treated as if it were the worst thing anyone can do.My parents left it to my brother to tell me about the “Birds and the Bees”
    and his advise was just don’t do it.So I was left to my own way of dealing with it.Later in life my mother explained to me that her Priest who she had get counsel
    from long time ago explained to her that sex was only for procreation and no pleasure was allowed.
    What utter tragedy,it left so many true God loving people devastated,because this drive is God given just like any of our other human functions/desires.If locked up inside it will come to a climax and we seek relieve somehow,somewhere with somebody or alone.I know we just don’t talk about this in Christian circles,we have this “HOLY” approach to it and it’s tabu to talk about it.We can talk and pray openly about most struggles but try sometimes to pray in an open prayer meeting that your having problems with Lust or let people know in your Church the same and see what happens. The God given relieve and enjoyment of course is in marriage,but so many marriages are suffering because that heresy of believing that sex is not to be enjoyed and inherently evil has destroyed many marriages.I know the abuses in the church,spouses that withold sex from their partner or do it mechanically and the pain people live with because of it.I know from friends in the Hotel Business that the sale of X rated adult movies in hotels is the highest when they have Pastors or other Religious meetings in the Hotel.What tragedy,God gave us this great pleasure to enjoy in the confounds of His plan.Everything else is just not biblical teaching

  2. Jean Says: 11:18 pm

    P.S. This focus on purity and honor led me to find my wonderful husband who had the same focus. These were both requirements for him in choosing a wife. We had a rich and passionate courtship for 2 years before we married – never straying from our virtues which made our marriage all the more precious and strong – 44 years and counting.

  3. Jean Says: 11:12 pm

    I was fortunate and grateful to have been raised in the Catholic church by a faithful mother who valued the virtue of purity above all else. “Be ye holy as I am holy says the Lord”. This virtue was further nurtured in me as a girl scout. From purity came honor. I embraced these principles fully without rebellion. I was trained from the earliest onset to have self respect. It wasn’t until my early 20’s, in the workplace, did I find these virtues to be challenged. A strong sense of God and His presence (pleasing Him) was my best defense. Without this I shudder to think of what I would have become or where I would have been. I did not have children but became a children’s Bible teacher. I firmly believe in planting seeds of virtue as soon as possible and being a true example for young folk to witness. As you said, as children we observe and thus soak up much of what we see and hear that can affect and last a lifetime.

  4. Lynn Severance Says: 9:54 pm

    I don’t recall any parental advice being given upon my leaving home to roam in the world as a young adult. Looking back I feel they believed they had raised me (and my brothers) in our faith and knowing right from wrong. It seemed a generation that did not talk about being in relationships – certainly nothing was discussed about sex! Fortunately learned virtues at home helped me stay the course when dating years began.

    I “left home” (home was in Colorado) to come to Seattle to attend college.I lived with my grandmother during my college years, such treasured years with her. It made for an easy and loving transition.

  5. Sally Andrews Says: 3:49 pm

    You’re words ring so true with me, Graham. Leaving home at 16 and putting myself through school as a Home Economist, I was naïve and spirited. I experimented, didn’t really know how to react or behave as this new freedom from a very strict home was overwhelming. I trusted way too many people, spun way to many stories which I thought would make people like me, and had absolutely no idea who I was. I knew making people happy was huge for me, I wanted to make a difference in the world, and yet I found myself always in the wrong company.
    Lessons learned, but I am still learning who I am, spending so much of my life trying to please others and being a free agent.

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