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Saturday, September 21, 2002

Acknowledging "Youthful Indiscretions"- I need to elaborate further on my late-Thursday post responding to Illinigirl's criticism of Rob Blagojevich's lame explanation of past marijuana use. She was dead on there, but this passage set me a bit on edge 36 hours ago
I'm really not trying to be judgmental here. He who once lived in a glass house should not throw stones. I really don't buy into the "experimentation is a normal thing" mentality anymore though. I made some bad decisions when I was younger, but I now fully realize and admit they were stupid choices. I will actively try to dissuade my (hypothetical future) children from making the same ones. I am proud though that I can honestly say I have never used an illegal drug. I went to a pretty liberal college and was handed bongs on several occasions. What were my two primary reasons for turning it down at the time? The idea that I would have to tell my kids about it some day and the thought it could become an issue if I ran for political office someday. Guess kids have one less reason to "just say no" these days.
There wasn't anything in particular that set me off, but it did come across (as she said in a clarification) as a bit "sanctimonious." I felt lumped in with Slick Willie for a moment and didn't like the feeling. We are in agreement here, and I think elaborating on what we should be doing about educating youngsters, including some of our younger readers. I remember urging the Hokie Pundit not to be the Tokey Pundit when he went to Europe and sampled some legal Dutch pot. There are a number of things that we don't want young people to do. Some of those things we have done, some we haven't. For instance, my emotional immuring saw me get involved in a number of binge drinking episodes and a handful (yes, a handful, 4-5) of marijuana sessions (never purchased-just at parties) during my undergrad days; yes, I did inhale. However, there are negative reinforcements from such endeavors, such as the last time I smoked being very uncomfortably numb, wondering if I could focus enough to drive home, or the flu-from-Hades-like hangover during Finals week, taking two final exams the next morning interrupted with frequent devotionals to the porcelain gods, Rolf and Earl. When Eileen and I have teenagers, she can speak on substance abuse from a sense of purity (having avoided drugs and alcohol as a youth) while I can speak from experience, saying that those things aren't good for you, that I was sinning against God when I did them and such activities should be avoided. It's better not to have done those things, and I give Illinigirl her due props for steering clear of those temptations. For those of us who have some "youthful indiscretions," be it with sex, drugs, booze, speeding or whatever, here's some steps that I think will help avoid the Clinton/Blagojevich brush off.
(1) Acknowledge that is was sinful
This is the thing that got Illinigirl into full rant mode. We need to confess that what we did was wrong and not fall back on the "I was young" or "everyone was doing it" alibis. Instead of minimizing what we've done, we need to confess it openly.
(2) Acknowledge and accept that we are forgiven and made righteous through the blood of Jesus
This is especially needed for people with sexual pasts, who need to feel clean again. I've heard a lot of talk about "secondary virgins" in conversations over teen abstinence campaigns. Once we get past claiming the sin, we need to avoid branding the person with the sin. If we focus on sin and not also focus on forgiveness, the person we want to cleanse will want to avoid the subject or minimize or justify what they did.
(3) Acknowledge that is was bad for them and for others
There aren't too many sins that I know of that are physically or emotionally good for the person in the long haul. Drugs, including alcohol, help slowly rot your system and extramarital sex is physically and emotionally destructive as a whole. If those of us who did have such indiscretions do those three things, we can provide support in keeping the next generation from following our own mistakes and help parents who did keep to the straight and narrow make sure their kids do likewise.

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