Start with the Truth

Start with the Truth

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

Start with the Truth

When in doubt, tell the truth.

~Mark Twain

It was a beautiful sunny day, and Mary and I were playing in her new basement because it was so hot outside. The two of us were best friends, so we naturally did what best friends do — we did everything together. We went camping together, we trusted each other, and always stuck up for each other.

But that day, something changed.

I’ll never forget the look on Mary’s face when she knocked over her mother’s favorite vase that was on the table. The flowers and vase crashed to the floor, and the vase cracked into tons of tiny little pieces. I looked at Mary and said, “There’s no way to fix this!”

Mary burst into tears. “What am I going to do? What am I going to say?” She looked at me while she wiped her tears and asked, “Can you say that you did it?”

I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do or say, and I started to pace back and forth.

“Okay, I’ll do it,” I said.

That very second, her mother came downstairs to ask about the loud noise she had just heard. Mary said, “Mom, we were sitting on the couch, and Michelle put her feet on the table and knocked over the vase.”

Her mother looked at me and shook her head. “I don’t know how many times I have to tell you girls, you don’t put your feet on the table.”

I apologized to Mary’s mother and told her I would buy her a new vase. She said not to worry, but just be more careful. I felt so bad — and I didn’t even do it! I know that I had kept Mary out of trouble, but I also felt that it wasn’t right.

I didn’t go over to Mary’s for a few days, and she didn’t come to my house, either. I was busy cleaning and doing extra chores. Finally, I earned enough money to buy Mary’s mother a new vase. I shopped around for a vase that looked like the one that Mary had broken until I found one that I thought her mom would like. Wanting to get it over with, I went straight to Mary’s house to give her mom the new vase. When Mary saw the vase that I had worked so hard to buy, she burst into tears again.

“Mom, I have to tell you something. I broke the vase, not Michelle,” she confessed. “I asked her to take the blame for me.”

Mary and I looked at each other with relief. Now I knew that Mary felt it was wrong to lie about the vase, too. Mary’s mother had a talk with us about the importance of telling the truth from the beginning. Then Mary decided that she should do something to make things right with her mother and me. She asked if she would take us to the store where Mary picked out some beautiful flowers for her mom’s new vase and a pretty friendship bracelet for me. And she paid for them herself with her allowance.

~Michelle Rossi

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