A while back I was coaching a boys basketball team, a group of 14-18 year old boys at church. We would hold practices in the basketball gym at church. I tried to teach the boys basketball skills while teaching myself how to coach. I enjoyed the experience even though it took time away from my young family.
One day I needed to leave practice early and the boys wanted to stay. The problem was that I had the key to the building and the building needed to be locked. I identified a boy to trust with the building key. His parents were leaders in the church and community. They had a large family and were very organized and responsible. I thought I could trust him.
Next time I saw this boy I asked for the key. "It's at home". I kept at him, calling him several times. Finally he admitted to me that didn't know where the key was.
What should my reaction be? My trust was broken, so I resolved to NEVER lend a key to a teenage boy again. They can't be trusted. The problem is, that means that every teenage boy that I would meet for the rest of my life would be punished for the error of one boy.
It's true that teenage boys make plenty of mistakes. But if I followed this pattern of broken trust, all teenage boys would be punished for the failings of others. I wouldn't be able to trust a boy to wash my car, mow my lawn, walk my dogs, bag my groceries, date my daughter or grand daughter, etc.
Luckily I realized this pattern early and adopted a policy of trust first. A key can be replaced. A boy experiencing an unjust loss of trust and freedom can result in a lasting scar.
That's why I cringe when I hear the emotional cries for stricter laws. Every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. We take our shoes off, empty our pockets and sometimes get patted down when we want to fly on an airplane. Luckily this policy has been slightly reversed [link]
Every gun owner is a potential mass murder. There are just as many deaths from drunk driving as there are from guns. We tried taking away the freedom to drink and that ended up giving more power to criminals. Why will taking away guns be better?
Laws are passed. Signs pop up all over the place restricting access or behavior. Is it any surprise that more and more people escape into virtual worlds of video games and social media?
It's something to think about.
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