When you live or work with children, sincerity is a way of being. Truths come out without censorship, until we socialize them that telling the truth isn't nice. It's not nice to say someone's fat. It's not nice to notice differences and comment on them. It's not nice to be honest that you don't like a present.

It's not nice. And so we learn as children to lie, to offer insincere well wishes, to make insincere offers, because it's "nice" to lie in order to spare people's feelings.

Except it's not nice. And it doesn't spare people's feelings. We learn to read through the bullshit, the insincere praise, the never-gonna-happen promises that society considers necessary social niceties.

It's when we take things at face-value, as people on the spectrum do, and find ourselves mystified when promised get-togethers don't happen, that the hurt creeps in and we learn to doubt people's words. We learn that people are insincere, that they lie because it's more convenient to do that than speak the truth, whatever it is.

Trust. There's nothing more important than trust--that we can rely on our loved ones to be honest--kind but honest. Our kids need to know that we will tell them the truth, that we will see their own honest statements in the light they were intended.

With over two decades of parenting children on the spectrum, and a husband who may not talk much but who doesn't lie, either, I've grown accustomed to frankness. I don't necessarily appreciate it all the time, but I'd far rather have that honesty than all the smoke in the world blown up my ass.

It's not the way the world works, too often. People pussy-foot around things. They avoid revealing their true feelings and instead disappear slowly from your life rather than be honest about something you've done that might have stepped on their toes.

I treasure my friendships where I know what I get from them is the truth. I lean on my friends--their honesty and willingness to trust me to handle that honesty keeps me sane. It also helps to keep me in check--it lets me have the courage to face inconvenient truths about myself.

Sincerity--it's an incredible gift that we can give to each other--to refuse game playing and offer only what is heart felt and true. Compassion and truth-telling should go hand in hand--truth should not be wielded as a weapon designed to destroy others. It should be offered up so that true companionship and inclusion are possible.

Acceptance--true acceptance requires sincerity and authenticity.

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