Sunday, October 28, 2007

David Copperfield saga

I've been reading a bit of the news stories about David Copperfield and the trouble he's being investigated for. A young woman claims that Copperfield raped her, but there's much, much more to the story. The claim is that when the magician sees a woman he likes in the audience, he instructs his assistants to invite her to be one of the volunteers in the show. She is invited backstage afterwards, and I guess things progress (or not) from there.

That's what this 21 year old is claiming happened to her, that she and her family were given special seats at the show, and invited backstage. There, Copperfield allegedly told her he could help her with her modeling career. Later, he invited her to his island (the guy owns an island!), where she discovered she was the only guest. It is there that the alleged rape supposedly occured.

Now, I am in no way condoning rape or any other act of violence. Let me repeat -- I am not saying it is a victim's fault when something like this happens. But I do want to talk about decision making. Just what did that girl (woman) think would happen on the island? What did she think would be expected of her in exchange for Copperfield's help with her career? Was her family invited to visit, or was it only the woman who was invited to visit the home of a man she barely knew, at his expense? Did that not send any red flags flying? What did her family and friends have to say about this rendezvous? What was she thinking?

I remember being 21. I can only imagine how I would have felt and reacted if an older, handsome, RICH, charming man began calling me, flirting with me, inviting me on exotic vacations. Gee, I would have had wobbly knees if that had happened when I was 31. But you have to make wise decisions. You have to overcome the EXTREMELY POWERFUL emotions you feel, and think with your brain. You have to remember all those things you learned growing up about being careful, not talking to strangers (!), not going to dangerous places alone (and, yes, a man's home is a dangerous place for a single, young woman to go alone, whether that home is in the middle of the Atlantic or three blocks down the street).

I don't know what happened between Copperfield and his accuser. I don't know if Copperfield is guilty or innocent. I believe if he's guilty, he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. But I know that his accuser is lucky to be alive and that she made a bad choice, likely several bad choices. We cannot be responsible for other people's actions, nor can we control them. But we can choose carefully where we go, and what we do and say. I don't mean that a person needs to live in a bubble where they never take any chances, have any fun, or enjoy life. I mean that you have to think. A man old enough to be that girl's father is not going to offer to help her move forward in the modeling world just because he's kind and caring. Surely her father knew that. Surely, somewhere deep in her heart, she knew that, too.

Make wise decisions...


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wise Decisions

"Make wise decisions" is something of a mantra at our house. It is even said more often than, "Because I said so." Mark and I repeat it to remind the children to think before they make choices, and it can refer to something simple like whether you really want that extra serving of pasta, or to a serious temptation like should you take that piece of candy while no one is looking. We want them to learn that all actions have consequences-- some good, some bad. Those consequences can be short term, a stomach ache from eating too much, punishment for stealing, or a peaceful conscience for doing the right thing simply because it's the right thing. Or they can be long term, like losing your privileges for a day (big stuff when you are 11!) or enjoying the toy you saved your allowance to buy.

My husband is only partly joking when he says one of our jobs is to brainwash our children. We want to instill certain lessons and values so deeply that when the children are tested, they will hold firmly to what they know is right or have the thinking skills to analyze a situation carefully and make an informed choice.

I don't mean that we are trying to create little robots that grow up to be just like us (oh heaven help them if that's what they strive for!). We want them to be intelligent, independent, THINKERS. For example, Mark sometimes says he would rather one of the children decide as an adult to attend a different church denomination than he/she was raised in because he has studied their beliefs and practices and find those to be more in line with scripture, than to attend a Presbyterian church all his life because that's what Mom and Dad do. We want them think about their words and actions, and make wise decisions. Hopefully, if we say it enough, and teach them how and why to do so, they will hear it in their minds (and hearts!) always and will listen.

Life is all about making choices. They will choose careers, spouses, purchases, and lifestyles. Our desire is that Hannah, Abel, Robert, Elizabeth, and Hope will learn from the small lessons while they are growing up, and will be well equipped as adults to make choices that will bring them the joy and happiness we so desire for them, and more importantly, will draw them closer to their Lord and Savior and allow them to serve Him well.

May God bless our feeble efforts and give us the wisdom to guide our sweet children.