Everyone Has Dirty Little Secrets

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Everyone has dirty little secrets.  I don’t know if any new scandal of secret affairs or hidden addictions could surprise me because enough people have shocked me when their shit hit the fan that I know it’s only a matter of time before the next person’s secret is discovered.  I know what we are all capable of, what I am capable of.  And nothing is beneath us humans.  We are all a push, shove or a shimmy away from committing murder, so to speak.  If the world collapsed before us and we became desperate, how would we react?  There’s plenty of movies that ponder this question.  From apocalypses to alien invasions to zombies; people are tested on how they will react in desperate situations.  If you are thinking you would never be capable of some atrocious act, keep in mind your life is probably pretty comfy right now.  I’m not saying that no one could resist the temptation, but that we should all have the humility to admit we are weak (left to ourselves).

I think I grew up fairly sheltered.  Like most kids, I thought there were “good” people and “bad” people.  Growing up in Baltimore city exposed me to things my parents couldn’t hide.  Like the boy who got beat up by a group of schoolmates in front of our house and was left on the ground with a broken leg.  Or the woman who crashed her car into my dad’s friends’ car that was parked at our house, and tried to run from the police; but ended up shaking and convulsing in my neighbor’s yard because she was on some heavy drugs.  Or my dad’s coworker who was stuffed in a trunk and murdered.  Or the thieves that broke into our house on multiple occasions and took any toys we left lying around outside.  The people who did these things were the “bad” people.  Everyone else was good.

I see now that we all have good and bad in us.  The saintliest person still makes mistakes so long as they’re human.  The scum of the earth still has the tiniest bit of good in him so long as he’s still human.  As I’ve thought about the grey lines of people, things, thoughts, actions and words, I’m quite unsure how to raise my kids.  Do I keep them away from those who could be a bad example?  I’m beginning to lean toward “no”.  These “bad examples” are the same as me.  They are seeking freedom and happiness.  They love and they get lonely.  They have no problem helping us out when we need it and don’t expect anything in return.  Yes, they have their faults and their addictions, but they also have their hearts.  Since my kids are toddlers now, I don’t really mind them being around our friends when they are drunk or high.  But will I mind when they’re impressionable teenagers?

Keeping my kids away from danger and people with problems is probably less helpful than teaching my kids about the dangers and the vices that these people practice.  I could tell my kids some day that “you see these people around you who are alcoholics and drug addicts and materialists and gluttons and hedonists, etc..  And you love them because you know them and see the good in them.  But you also can see that these things don’t bring them happiness.  These things only take away their freedom.  Because an addict is not free, he is bound in chains to his addiction.  And every sin takes away our freedom and makes us slaves to it.  Don’t stop asking what you are made for and where you can find freedom….and happiness.”  (My silent plea: don’t be like me- someone who knows what could bring happiness but is still attempting that which has proven to be unsubstantial, letting happiness escape me.)

I think above all, we all just want to be happy.  But we’re always looking in the wrong places for it.  Who are we, though, to judge others on their search, even if they did get tangled in a weed and forgot they were even on a search.

Of course I still have to protect my kids from people who could do them harm.  I’m not going to let them be around people I don’t trust.  There are damaged people who inflict their own damage on others through physical, sexual or emotional abuse.  These are the people I hope to protect them from.   But I can’t protect them from all possible harm.  Thus is life.  It’s dangerous to be alive.

What do you think about sheltering your kids?  Where do you draw the line?

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janyceresh

If sarcasm and self deprecating humour were an Olympic event I'd definitely qualify.

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