Unnecessary truths

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at imperial.ac.uk
Wed Feb 18 09:19:12 EST 2004

Helen wrote:
> Oh, lord, I've been using this one on my children (not the rhyme version, but 
> asking them if what they said was either necessary or kind). With predictable 
> results, of course, of nasty little grins and cries of "yes it WAS necessary!"

> I have no idea where it's from. The "three/necessaree" rhyme sounds a bit 
> Gilbertian. Is it KIND, is it TROO, is it ne-ce-sair-EE? 

I know it too, as "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?". I think an American Quaker might have said it.

The consensus seems to be a Presbyterian pastor from New York called Maltbie Babcock (which would be a great name for a village). "When I want to speak let me think first: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If not, let it be left unsaid."


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