Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sensitive Areas

In recent years, a combination of valid English words has crept into our conversation which I am sure you will recognize: “I don’t want to go there.” It is offered in polite conversation as avoidance of discussing matters which are deemed to be sensitive to some parties present. Others in the discussion nod their heads in their best sage like manner to agree that we probably shouldn’t “go there.” Thus a consensus is reached and we mutually decide that “there” is definitely a place we don’t want to “go.”

In the groups I hang with, we avoid jokes with a sexual nature and bathroom humor all together. Other topics which we avoid are politics, economics, problems which involve an easily identified “other” race, physical handicaps, mental lapses and just about anything which has the least challenge or controversy. In so doing, we avoid the possibility of conflict. We also avoid the possibility of discussion of matters which are in the forefront of our minds and involve problems which really require a solution.

I talk to younger people – that includes just about everybody—and constantly hear them complain that their families never talk about; fill in the blank. They don’t discuss finance, sex, care and keeping of crazy uncles, politics, religion, or dozens of other things which parents have an obligation to prepare their kids for to face in the world. When these topics come up they are greeted with, “I don’t want to go there.”

I remember an adult Sunday school class and a question was broached about the Old Testament.. “It seems that the Bible, especially the Old Testament, only describes women in two categories, wives and harlots. Why is there no just plain woman without a husband or a profession?” I thought the question fair and so did the teacher. As we entered the discussion, one of the class requested, “that we not go there.” She became insistent and it was obvious the subject distressed her. We did move on in our studies but I regret she chose to stifle a subject that I have sought answers to also.

I encounter youngsters who don’t understand the credit card trap, believe everything which comes from the mouth of a charismatic politico, who see sex as recreation, not re-creation and believe the often offered TV sitcom concept of a father in the family as a stumbling, bumbling fool. These are matters worthy of intense discussion and possibly disagreement. It is even possible that an airing in the relative safety of a family setting might stimulate them to do some independent research and investigation and broaden their knowledge.

By not stating a firm position, well reasoned and properly presented, we imply a lack of condemnation when it may be called for. We are also implying that they don’t have the intellectual ability to understand or think for themselves. Most important, if there is a moral factor involved – and when isn’t there—should we as parents run from a confrontation?

If we flee from confronting issues it may well be time for some introspection to identify the demons in our own psyche.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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