We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
That scripture is what this book continually made me think of. We are not responsible for Adam's transgression, nor the transgressions of other. But, those transgressions can impact others or have impacts upon us.
I've lived my life in a bit of a guarded fashion I suppose. But that is because, while I know that my decisions and my actions are my own, I also know that they can affect others. Examples.
Why not drink as a teenager? Well, most importantly, I live the Word of Wisdom. I know that I should not drink wine nor other strong drinks. Another reason, my friends drank. I saw how they behaved. I didn't want to act like that. And another reason. I hoped to be a mother someday. How could I teach my children not to do something I had done myself. I know we all mess up, and I've made plenty of mistakes I can teach my children about, but I prefer they be the silly little mistakes like shop lifting as a kid. Not getting drunk in my teenage years because everyone else was doing it.
I remember a night when I was 16. I'd had my license for a few months - one day shy of six months to be exact as this happened January 11, 1992. Some friends were getting together. Another friend had offered to drive so I headed over to her house. While picking up another girl, my friend noticed that the brakes in her parent's car were acting odd. We called out the older brother of the girl we were picking up and he said not to worry. (He wasn't much older than us, really, he had no idea what he was talking about, but we trusted him.) The night went on. We had quite a few friends in the car the later it got. One of the boys had recently broken up with a girl (I think she broke up with him actually) and he had the genius idea that we should, you guessed it, the usual teenager revenge plot, TP her house. So we ran to Ralphs. While in the parking lot, we discovered some other friends. Turns out one of the had been drinking that night, too much (and frankly one drink is too much before the age of 21) - but regardless, he'd been drinking. The girl in the other car was trying to stop him from driving but didn't want to leave her car at the market. We swooped in to save the day. My friend who's car I was in, she drove the girl at the store's car. The girl at the store drove the drinker's car. And I drove my friend's car. I remember driving down Wiley Canyon, I remember how loud and rambunctious everyone was in the car. I remember realizing I was going to fast (this car was way bigger and heavier than what I drove.) I remember applying the brakes without much reaction, then I remember slamming on the brakes, and skidding right into the curb, blowing both front tires.
I remember saying over and over, "I have AAA, let's call, they'll help." Over and over. I remember the parents of a friend (we were adding a new friend to the mix by going to her house) coming out to the curb. Just with friends and those parents, it was a pretty big group. But everyone just kept siding with the friend who's car it was. A neighbor had come out saying he worked in a shop, he could totally get us some replacement tires right away, don't worry. I'm not super trusting of strangers, I wasn't super trusting of him. No one would let me call my folks (pre-cell phones), no one would let me call AAA. And I was a wimp. I didn't want to make everyone hate me by calling. So I didn't do anything. my friends devised a plan to have the tires replaced, we'd all just go home and no one would get in trouble. I didn't expect to get in trouble. I didn't see a problem with telling our parents. i didn't stand my ground though.
That night I got home and my mother said we were low on TP and she needed me to run to the store to get some more since the next day was Sunday. I knew where there were a couple things of unused TP, in the back of my friend's car. I was terrified driving to the store. Over the next week, the following events happened. Monday morning at seminary, the boys decided to rotate the tires on the car so that the tires the neighbor guy gave us were in the back instead of the front. Parents were dropping off their kids. Gee, I wonder if anyone noticed. Another day, the friend said her parents were asking some fishy questions. My advice. Let's just tell them. No. That's all I was told. A few days later, I'm summonsed to the yearbook room? (Those friends all worked on the yearbook.) Apparently the friend with the car, her mom came and took her out of school to confront her on what happened and she was busted. I should expect the same thing. The problem is, I knew my parents. They were a lot better than hers.
Yes, I got my license taken away for a month. I was grounded. But I'm pretty sure my parents noticed how tough the week had already been on me. As opposed to the other kids, I was relieved when the truth came out. And here's the thing. I could tell you about all the bad things that ended up happening to the other kids, choices they made in their lives because they choose to lie all the time and hide things from their parents. (I was a nerd folks, I didn't do anything that would get me in trouble anyways.) But no list needed. You can think of your own scenarios, and you'll pretty much guess most of what they did. But it was an example to me early on of why you tell the truth, why you own up to your errors, your wrongs.
This book, it's all about covered lies, and what happens when they surface. It is an excellent example of how our actions and decisions affect others, even years after we make them.
I don't have kids yet, but if I do, I'm glad I won't have anything I'm embarrassed about. I'm glad I'll be able to talk to them about right and wrong and decisions and have that open communication so that they can come to me too, regardless of what they did.
So there's a little sermon for you. I definitely recommend the book. I picked this one up because of how much I enjoyed another book by this author, What Alice Forgot.