Bad News, Soon News

“Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news immediately.”

(Tom Hagen to Wolltz)

Why does he insist on hearing bad news immediately?  Isn’t ignorance bliss?  What are the benefits of being informed of disappointing news as quickly as possible?  Every action of Vito Corleone is deliberate.  There must be some wisdom in knowing upsetting information at moment’s notice.

Depending on the situation, I can see the primary advantage of hearing bad news early is time.  Time to react.  Time to sink in.  Time to strategize.  Time to response.

I went on a three week trip to Europe three summers ago.  One of the counselor leaders of the trip found out her mother died the first day of the trip.  She mustered the strength to stay on the trip to its entirety for her sense of responsibility to the trip and everyone involved.  She could have gone home and helped plan the funeral and the viewing of her blood and heart mother.  But she didn’t.  (No one knew her mother had died until she revealed the news to everyone at the end of the trip.  I only knew that her mom had died the day it had happened because I had accidentally overheard her talking to the other counselors in a room in a museum about it.)  She is the strongest woman I know!  No one could tell she was mourning or slightly bothered.  Her pleasant smile masked any possibility that a tragedy had just befallen her.  (Her joy was to the point where I questioned what I had heard the first day of the trip about her mother’s death.  I figured I had misheard the conversation between the counselors.)

Although she was able to hide her pain, I wonder how her grief molded her whole perspective of everything during the trip.  Would her the experiences have been much more enjoyable if she had not known this heartbreaking news until later?  Or would she have felt even more pain if her family had chosen to keep the news concealed until her return?

Personally, I think it was best that she knew right away.  A mom is a BIG deal – at least in some people’s lives (and I know it was in her’s because I saw her crying to the counselors about it.).  Having the decision to go home or not would have been robbed from her if she had not known until later.  If she had known later, she might have thought she would have wanted to go home given the choice (even though in reality she decided to stay.).

In short, I think the Don is right.  Knowing bad news immediately in critical situations is best!

4 thoughts on “Bad News, Soon News

  1. Eh i guess mom’s are kinda a big deal. I agree though, you should almost always tell someone the truth and as soon as possible, anything but just complicates things and delays dealing with reality. This one girl one did something mean that would potentially hurt my feelings a lot, and did, but my friends were brave enough to tell me right when they found out and it felt great to know.

  2. I hate when people say “Do you want the bad news first or the good?” Just because there is good news, does that really make the bad news easier to hear. Personally, I always ask to hear the bad news first. Why put off knowing the inevitable? Knowing early, means that you have more time to react and more time to try to get past it.

  3. I agree with you and with the Don. I think knowing bad news sooner is way better than finding out later. Knowing the bad information gives you more time to go through the grieving process and then adapt. If your counselor had found out that her mother had died later on in the trip, she would not have had as much time to really accept the fact and move on before the end of the trip. I think the trip also gave her an outlet for her grief. She could focus on other things and other people, having responsibility that greatly alleviated the pain she was feeling, even if for only a short time.

  4. I really love how you related the Godfather to a personal story in your life. I too, believe that knowing bad news right away is best. It kind of feels a little like betrayal if people hide the news from you, at least in my opinion. Nice post Alaina!

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