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Deception, Hypocrisy, Respect and Teen Suicide

I am not sure if the authors of the article about Shevaun and Toby are advocates of using deception to get what you want or not. They seem to condemn other humans, who they have thrown into a category labeled "paedophiles," for their use of deception. At the same time, they seem to applaud the authorities and psychologists who masterminded a well-conceived and well-executed plan of deceit to "lure" Shevaun back into her mothers's arms. Or might I say "grasps"? (see editoral )

Some people around the world noted this example of the reporters "inconsistency" in their thinking. Or to put it more harshly we might call it blatant hypocrisy.I would, guess, though, that the majority of readers did not. These are the kinds of things I point out to the young people I talk with. The ones who catch on quickly are the ones who I will talk to for hours. I want to help them see through false appearances. And they help me as well. Anna, for example, was my teacher as much as I was her mentor during the time we spent together. And I have learned so much from Sarah that it would make its own book.

I also want young people to begin thinking about things like respect. One of my convictions is that the only way to world peace is mutual respect. I don't believe someone more powerful can simply continue to impose his will on someone else forever. The attack on the world trade towers and the resitance in Iraq and the West Bank are just a few examples of this. But the leaders of the countries who happen to be in power at this point in history, are not supporters of my philosopy. They are planning to impose their will on North Korea next. What was that Biblical passage? Something about love not insisting on its own way?

Hypocrisy destroys respect. And all the fear in the world will never replace the respect that has been lost. In fact, it will only bury it deeper in its gravebed. How can we ask, or try to "demand" young people to respect us when we lead by hypocrisy instead of integrity?

And on the subject of fear and hypocrisy, Sarah and I have often wondered why it is okay for her father, the police and teachers to threaten her; and it is okay for George Bush to threaten other political leaders, but is not okay for her and her friends to threaten their teachers, parents or the police?

Do we want advocate the use of threats in society or not? Do we want to be examples of integrity or not? And speaking of integrity... where are those weapons of mass destruction?

And if we are not modeling integrity, and if we do not stop acting hypocritically and condeming something on one hand, while moments later applauding it with the other, can we really blame our youth for losing respect for us and becoming disillusioned and "disenfranchised"?

Such feelings, felt over and over, lead to discouragement. Discouragement leads to hopelessness. Hopelessness slowly erodes the will to live.

So is there any wonder why the teen suicide rate is on the rise?

S. Hein
July 18, 2003


This article is dedicated to 15 year old Megan whose sign in name yesterday was "Bruises fade, father, put the pain remains inside..."


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