Years ago someone came to me with information about a tween who was engaging in risky flirtations with adult strangers. Though the behavior hadn’t gone far enough to be innocence-destroying, it was dangerous. Peers had already tried talking sense to the tween without success.
Deciding that if it were my child I’d want to know so I could intervene before anything serious happened, I contacted the tween’s mother and as gently as I could I told her what was going on. The mother did not receive the news well and she punished me socially for telling her.
Years later someone came to me again with similar concerns about the same (now) teen. This time I hesitated, but in the end I decided the parents needed to know so they could protect their child. Again, I was made to feel I’d metaphorically stuck my nose in the wrong place and gotten it bloodied.
Fast forward a few more years and now I’m hearing things I believe most parents would want to know. Serious things. But this time my source is not as reliable, I’m not eager to get another verbal beat-down, and (most important) the teen is legally an adult. So this time I’m going to mind my own business.
But I admit I’m not perfectly at peace with that decision.
Back in my college days an acquaintance came to me with some very painful information about the guy I thought at the time was my soul mate. Feel free to roll your eyes. I wouldn’t believe what he was telling me. I accused him of lying. I metaphorically killed the messenger. I’m ashamed of that. Although I must say he took it in admirable stride.
A couple of wasted years and a broken heart later, I found out everything he’d told me – and more – about my soul mate was undeniably, horribly TRUE. Worse, most of our mutual friends had known all along but hadn’t told me because they “didn’t want to hurt me”. Apparently to them, silently standing by and letting me waste years of my life, and be duped and pitied by everyone I knew, was kindness. *arrrgh*
What about you? Have you ever verbally killed a messenger? Been emotionally beaten for being the messenger? Or stood by and kept silent for fear of being unkind or uncomfortable?