Friday, April 27, 2012

Parental Secret Service

So, you may have noticed that I hijacked your blog last week to post about a missing 14 year old girl from the Wichita area.  Your Aunt Em works with this little girl's mom, which is how I found out about her.  Em and some other friends from the area posted the information on Facebook along with the plea I posted in your blog.  I posted it here because I was trying to get the information out to people beyond Facebook and since this blog is connected to the Google Search Engine, I figured more people would see it here.  I was blown away by how many people found the information via this blog (I have the option to see page view stats).

Thankfully, you may have also noticed that the little girl was found alive and made her way back safely to her worried family.  I don't know all of the details surrounding her disappearance or her reappearance, but the important thing to take away from all of this... this girl was VERY lucky.  Not every story ends happily like this one did.  Many children disappear and quickly find themselves in over their heads, wishing they had not left in the first place. Regardless of the reasons the girl disappeared, she was definitely in danger during her absence.  

When you get to be older and start thinking you have all of the answers to life there may come a time when you think your dad and I are being unreasonable in some fashion.  You may even decide you don't want to come back home OR that you want to leave home.  You may decide that our refusal to let you go out to some sort of event stems from us "not being cool" or "not understanding what it's like to be a teenager" and you may decide to sneak out and attend without our knowledge.  There may be any number of events/variables/circumstances in which you do not agree with what we have to say to you and you may think that it would "teach us a lesson" if you went ahead and left without permission.

Go back and re-read that plea for help from someone who loves that girl very much.  Read the desperation.  Read the heartache.  Read how that little girl's aunt is BEGGING someone... anyone... to find out the truth about what happened to that child.  Little girl, you are not an island.  Your actions have real consequences; both for you and for the people who love you.  

You might think it won't harm anyone to sneak out of the house and you may even think we will never find out as long as you get back before we notice you're missing.  What if the people you're meeting up with do not have your best interests in mind?  What if those people, the people you thought you could trust, treat you poorly once you're with them?  What if they prevent you from leaving a situation that is quickly escalating beyond your control?  We would have NO IDEA where you are and possibly not even realize you're in danger until hours after the fact.  We, your parents... your Secret Service agents... we would be clueless as to how to help you all because you felt like your way was the better way to do things.

I'm sorry, but I simply cannot go through something like this.  If you went missing, I would be lost, too.  If we tell you "no" it won't be because we want to ruin your social life.  We will not tell you "no" without good reason.  It may seem insane to you that your dad and I were once teenagers, too.  Well, we were.  We had things we wanted to do that our parents wouldn't let us do, too.  Did it seem unfair?  Sometimes.  Did I disobey them?  A couple of times.  Guess what?  I usually had some sort of consequence that I wasn't expecting stem from my act of rebellion.  

That one time at summer camp when my mom told me to stay the hell away from the rope swing and I waited until she wasn't around and did it anyway?  Sprained ankle and a ruined camp experience.  That other time when I wandered farther away from home than I was supposed to and found ANOTHER rope swing to play on, completely forgetting my first rope swing incident?  Ruined brand new outfit and a huge 5 inch gash on my leg from the 2x4 with the nail sticking out of it that was just beneath the surface of the muddy murky water.  Don't believe me?  Look at my scar on my right leg.  I will have that as proof of my stupidity for the rest of my life.  (Also, take my word on rope swings.  Those things are killers.  Stay away from them!!!)

Then, there was another time in either junior high or high school where my dad and I got into some sort of fight over something (it was soooo important that I don't even remember what it was about!) and I went to youth group at my church determined that I wasn't going to go home that night.  I hadn't planned on where I was going to go (because teenagers aren't usually awesome at that whole "planning" thing), but I knew I wasn't going to go home that night... no matter what.  All it took was an adult talking to me and letting me know how upset my dad would be to help put things into perspective.  There were times as a child that I didn't know where some adults in my life were at any given time and it scared me.  I didn't want to inflict that same feeling on people I loved so I went home that night.  

I want you to know that no matter how angry you are at us, your parents, you need to come home to us.  You need to always come home so we can keep track of you and help keep you safe.  The Secret Service would be no kind of Secret Service if the President were allowed to run off willy-nilly at his or her own whim.  We are your Secret Service.  It is our job to know where you are at all times and make sure you aren't putting yourself in harm's way.  Please let us do our job.  Please let us use our experience in this world to help keep you safe.  You don't have to agree with all of our decisions, but you do have to understand that we aren't in the business of keeping you from things just to ruin your life.  We have been around long enough to know when something sounds like something bad.  You may be willing to take risks with your safety and well-being, but we're not.  There are MANY parents out there who would give ANYTHING to go back in time and say these things to their own kids... kids who have either gone missing or had something bad happen to them simply because they felt like they knew more than their parents.

I never want to scare you and I never want you to become paranoid about the dark and scary things that lurk in the shadows, but I DO WANT YOU TO TRUST US!  Go back and re-read that plea again... and again... and again... until you understand that decisions made in the heat of the moment rarely manifest what you want them to manifest.  Be smart, think about the consequences of your actions, and above all else...

Come home.  Always come home.

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