We’ve all heard the news stories this week. Prince Harry, being a young person in Las Vegas, stupidly played a game of strip billiards, and the pictures are out there to prove it. So much for the motto, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” I feel bad for Harry, really I do. I know what everyone is saying: he should know better, he has a public persona to live up to, it was an act of stupidity.
Of course it was stupid, that’s part of life. It’s how young people learn. It’s how we all learn. Face it, from the beginning, we learn, not just from rules, lectures, or even common sense. The lessons we learn the best, are learned the hard way. Every toddler can be told “Don’t touch – hot.” but it doesn’t truly become understood until the first time they experience “hot.”
Obviously we hope that in the process of learning, no one places themselves in harm’s way. There are some very dangerous activities that we can only hope the lessons we try to drive home, prevent. I don’t believe in protecting children from all things scary. It can expose them to things you’d rather they didn’t learn by experimentation. I used to let my kids watch Rescue 911. Was it scary? Could it give them nightmares? Was it sometimes gruesome? Yes, but watching a kid lean back on his chair and fall through a glass patio door, or seeing a kid impaled on the knife he was running with, drove a lesson home, a lesson that I didn’t want them to learn the hard way.
So no, we don’t want our children or anyone to learn some lessons by experience. Ever. But we do have to understand that it is okay for them to learn other lessons the hard way, and the behavior of many young people it just that, a learning experience. Every generation goes through it. I’m pretty sure every parent hopes their children don’t do half the things they did when they were young
Of course, when we were young, the threat of doing something stupid was that whatever we did went on our “permanent record.” Right, and just where were all these “permanent records” kept? I’ve thought about it. What stupid teenage act in my past could be dredged up if all the stars align and this writing thing takes off for me? Is there anything in my youthful past I’d need to worry about? Truth be told, if there is some picture of me out there somewhere, acting stupid at a party, the best it could be is a faded, grainy snapshot from a 110 camera. For today’s youth, unfortunately, the threat is real. With HD video and cameras on every cell phone, and the internet, what you do might just be out there for all to see, forever. Now a days, it really does go on your permanent record.
And if you are a prince, it also becomes an international news story.