In Elizabethan drama, there were court jesters, commonly known as “fools” who were in charge of entertaining the king and his court. These people were among the few permitted to tell the truth to the king without fear of losing their heads. It seems that back then, if you didn’t like what you were told by someone other than your fool, as a monarch you simply lopped off the head of the messenger. Fools or court jesters were able to use sarcasm, wit, wisdom, and lunacy to their heart’s content, poking fun at dukes and duchesses, princes and princesses, noblemen and serfs. Fools and court jesters have a rich history throughout the ages, both in Eastern and Western kingdoms.
Another story of a sovereign being told the truth is the classic children’s tale The Emperor’s New Clothes. Having been deceived by two cunning weavers as well as his own ego, it seems the king was the real fool!
Everyone needs a Fool in their life
We all need a friend who will tell us the truth — regardless. I’ll wager than almost everyone can relate a time they wish a friend had spoken the truth. I’ll also wager than almost everyone has a story of a time they sincerely wish they had spoken up. I’m not talking about giving unsolicited advice like a jerk, I’m talking about speaking the truth with sincerity, in a loving way to a friend who is seriously about to make a wrongheaded decision that will have a long term effect on their life.
Maybe your personal court jester is your spouse, or a close friend. Maybe it’s a sibling, cousin, or other family member. Maybe it’s a friend at your church or at work. Maybe it’s your financial advisor or banker. Whoever it is, the real question is “Are you willing to listen?” Are you willing to hear them out without thinking that they’re judging you unfairly? Are you willing to see things from their perspective without resorting to lopping off their heads (figuratively, of course)? Are you willing to lay aside your own biases and prejudices for just a moment to listen to a third party?
Sites like The Wisdom Journal, Frugal Dad, My Supercharged Life, My Dollar Plan, On Simplicity, and Marc and Angel Hack Life all have great information. We all pour ourselves into our respective posts in terms of time, thought, research, and editing. But as great as a blog may be, it can never take the place of a friend who plays the part of a court jester or fool – someone who will tell you the truth because they know you expect it from them, and they would expect the same from you.
Make sure you listen. This friend may be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Just don’t start looking for a guillotine on eBay!