Boo Hoo

October 31st, 2011

As a kid, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays… until we moved to the country when I was seven and there were no doors within walking distance. Then Halloween was just my brother’s birthday. (Happy 56th today, Mike!).

When our children were little, it was an annual treat to take them around our neighborhood and go to ‘only houses with lights on of people we know.’ That ended last year. When I asked our 13-year-old this weekend what she was wearing, she said, “I want to stay home and hand out candy.” Guess my next opportunity to celebrate this fun occasion is with grandkids, whichever decade that might be.

Some folks at our church don’t allow their young kids to trick-or-treat. After all, they say, it’s a holiday rooted in darkness, filled with satanic undertones, totally pagan. Perhaps. Maybe. OK. However, I don’t think little Johnny or Susie – age six – think wearing a Lightning McQueen or Angry Bird costume this year has anything to do with celebrating the devil. (Although they might get scared if someone dressed as a presidential candidate walks past them on the sidewalk.)

To me this is more of the same ‘everybody gets a trophy’ mentality that is pervasive in our society. ‘Lexi played soccer, and at the party afterward our wonderful coach gave everyone a medal and said each one was the team’s MVP, and Jen, the soccer mom, got a trophy for all the kids, and Tom, Adam’s father, made goals for everyone to practice in the off-season.’ Wow! Imagine if these eight-year-olds had actually won a game.

It’s a big world. Most of it is good. Part of it is bad. There are Buzz Lightyears who want to save mankind… and Big Bad Wolves that want to devour it. Your role as parents isn’t to shield your children. It’s to teach them the difference between good and bad – and to protect them until they’re old enough to make their own decisions. Sheltering doesn’t help them learn. Teaching everybody wins isn’t dealing in reality. Those acts – done mostly to hide from your own fears of what might happen – simply delay the inevitable until young adults are unprepared to deal with what they encounter in daylight and darkness.

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