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I think my parents liked the idea of moving us all to an isolated spot far from the influential words and deeds of others they didn’t approve of. That way they could raise their family the way they liked and they could pretend very effectively that they had a perfect family. After all, we looked pretty good because Dad was a leader in our church and Mom worked as the church secretary. But in truth, they were afraid. They lived in fear of others discovering that they were not perfect and that they’d made mistakes as parents, and even as people, and dared not let others know. They had tons of secrets and it was important their church community not ever find out.

So, in my opinion, this was a significant mistake. Living in fear. They didn’t want any of their kids to have emotions, or be influenced by others who dared feel things. They didn’t want us to socialize and be around anyone except in controlled settings. Keeping our children so close to us that the outside world cannot threaten is a significant disservice to their futures where they will some day have to navigate without us.

Letting kids be who they are, who God made them, is terrifying to some people. It means a loss of control that could reflect poorly on them. I don’t care what I look like as long as I know I am someone accepting of and grateful for what God has handed me, children to whom I am expected to be steward. As long as I know in my heart I am honoring the babies God gave me, responding to their words and their actions and the spirit of life I see in each, and not trying to mold them into my own version of great people, I am satisfied.

My folks hid us in the woods and feared others would discover our flaws. I am putting my flaws out there for you to see, telling the truth about my life, with the hope that you will see that hiding and being afraid of our fellow humans, just because they see things differently, is not honoring them as beings placed here by someone besides ourselves. We all are flawed, and pretending some of us are better than others, or pretending some of us have all the answers, even if we believe God is on our side, is destructive.

I am sorry to report that trying to prevent our children from becoming the imperfect people they are destined to be will lead to a lifetime of disappointment. Honoring them as creatures worthy of their own ideas and actions honors all men.

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