Daily Archives: March 14, 2011
We all have pivotal moments that have shaped our lives. How we fit into our own skin, and how we interact with others. Some of those moments are defining in a wonderful giving way, and others… well… we grow out of the negativity into something hopefully better.
I was thinking today about one such moment. A negative moment that helped shape my view of people and the world at large. I don’t imagine the folks involved ever intended their words and actions to shape me and my view in such a profound way. I doubt they really thought much about it at all.
I wasn’t much more than a kid myself, it would have been when I was twenty or so. I loved their family, their young children and they themselves were like family to me. I adored playing with their two girls (one a preschooler, the other not much older). I remember the girls had asked me about something… but can’t for the life of me remember what it actually was. I knew it was something where a persons faith would impact the answer, and knew it wasn’t something that I should be answering for them – especially considering we had different religious views. But I also believe that honesty is best, and I’ll never lie to a child because it’s easier. So I told the girls that different people believe different things, and that this was something they should ask their parents about. Both girls were content with that answer, and the three of us continued playing make-believe.
Honestly, I thought this was a non-issue. The girls were content with my answer, and I hadn’t given them any information that would conflict with something their parents might say about the matter. So I was shocked, when the next day, I was approached very seriously by both adults.
They asked if they could talk to me, pulled me away from what I was doing, sat me down… and told me not to talk to their children any more. That I had no business telling their kids anything. And that they didn’t want me talking to them again.
I remember being stunned… and so desperately hurt. All I could mutter was an “okay”. They thanked me, and walked away.
The girls are now both in high school. And while I’ve spoken to them in passing. I have avoided any real contact between myself and them since that conversation. It hurts my heart every time I see them. Knowing that, at one time, we were so important to one another, and that now… while I’m in their lives, I’m not involved in them.
Any time we do anything with these people, it’s hard for me to think of anything else. I still love them, nothing will change that. They are family to me, and nothing will change that either. But there is a giant rift there.
In a moment they likely don’t even recall, they changed me. Deeply and profoundly, they changed me.
So think before you speak. Especially when you are a person in a position of love or respect in a young persons life. Without even thinking, you could be changing someones life. Make sure that defining moment, that pivotal moment, is a positive one.