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I resorted to a dishonest tactic I'd sometimes used at school or uni when I had a tedious assignment to work on. I call it "Give 'em what they want to hear." In other words, I fudged some of what I wrote. Shame on me. I preferred to call it exaggerating. I assumed she'd probably want to think that we did lots of bookwork and formal lessons. This is what I wrote spades of in the report. My intention was to mislead her to think we did far more than we actually did.
When she came, she sipped her cup of tea, read the report and said something I never saw coming. She rebuked me for working them too hard! Yeah, me! "This is all very commendable, but don't go down the track of taking all the fun and joy out of learning. In my opinion, that takes the gloss off what homeschooling should be all about. You seem to be taking it all far too seriously."
I was mortified. By then, I'd written the report. I was committed to the truth-stretching I'd told. I couldn't retreat and tell her that, in fact, I was as big an advocate of the natural learning approach as she could hope to find. I wished I'd been honest and open in my true feelings. It was a major backfiring of what I'd thought were good intentions. That was a good lesson that being true to ourselves is the only path we should take, no matter what benefits the less-than-honest approach may seem to bring.
At least I wasn't punished as severely as that poor young messenger who ran to report the battle deaths of King Saul and his sons to David. His story is found at the very start of the Book of 2Samuel. David pressed him for details, asking, "How do you know for sure that Saul and Jonathan are dead?" On the spur of the moment, this young soldier decided that a bit of opportunistic embellishing of the truth might be to his own advantage. "I just happened by Mt Gilboa and came on Saul, badly wounded... 'Come here' he said, 'and put me out of my misery'... So I did what he asked and killed him. Here's his royal headband and bracelet for my master."
Anybody who's read the real story will blink at this point, and think, "Hey, what? He did no such thing! Saul fell on his own sword when his armor bearer refused to kill him. What's this fellow going on about?"
I understood his thinking. He'd hoped to gain. Telling David that he'd driven a sword through his nemesis was intended to be a sound move earning him respect and promotion, however undeserved. He'd probably intended to use it as a harmless stepping stone. Little did he know how horribly this would backfire on him. He had no idea of David's history with Saul and his family and his true feelings about them, much less what was in his heart. Horrified, David demanded, "Do you mean to say that you weren't afraid to kill God's anointed king?" He ordered one of his soldiers, "Strike him dead! You asked for it. You sealed your death sentence when you said you killed God's anointed king." So he never had the chance to regret his mistake.