My last post was called The Kitchen. I'm picking up with an entry written on the same day as the last diary entry. It's important because it talks about 15 year-old Jennifer's thoughts of suicide. No one in Jennifer's family knew she entertained these thoughts. Her friends didn't know either. I write this blog, in part, to try and help people see into the mind of a teenager. I hope that maybe one kid, one family, is someday helped by this!
The previous post talked about a family argument which occurred over kitchen chores. Jennifer and Joel got in trouble for not doing a good job. Joel brushed the whole incident off. Jennifer was reduced to hours of tears and thoughts of suicide. She's overwhelmed by the pressures she puts on herself. She believes she's a good kid doing the best she can. She is devastated that her parents are disappointed and expect more out of her. After she finished her entry, she picked up her diary and wrote some more. Here it is...
I never heard a better argument for getting my teen a pet--Jennifer's love for her cat, Cocoa, was keeping her alive!
Jennifer writes that she tried to kill herself after her dog, Muffin, died. She doesn't remember what she did or how she tried to kill herself at that time. Anyway, maybe getting a pet isn't such a great idea....
What I notice about Jennifer is that she has no anchor. She's easily buffeted about by the wind in her life. She doesn't believe in God anymore. She harbors multiple and conflicting beliefs about what happens after death. She thinks she might reincarnate, or go to hell, or have to re-live her same life over again, or be punished or maybe just move on from earth forever. She also believes that suicide will affect her afterlife in a negative way. Many religions and philosophies promote that fear (which is a good thing in Jennifer's case!).
We all have to believe something about death. What we believe can greatly affect our lives and actions here on earth. I believe, and I will dare to state, that what we believe about death is the most important thing in our lives! Think for a moment about what you believe. Now, work back from there. How does that one belief affect your behavior, your religion, your dreams, your goals, your family planning, your estate planning, your view of man's laws and your morality? And how do all of those things affect your life?
All beliefs about death come from either religion, philosophy or you make up your own best guesses. The religion, philosophy or idea that you subscribe to when it comes to death--also shapes your life--this is your anchor. Maybe you have no belief about death at all, you stick with the mystery of it--I still think it shapes your life. When you don't believe anything, then ALL options become a possibility--this makes for some tricky decision making in life. This is the boat in which Jennifer finds herself.
Jennifer made up her own ideas and mixed-matched ideas from religion and philosophy. She was an unorganized Religion of One. She had no anchor. I think this makes life harder for us humans. I believe that we are all seekers. We seek a higher power--whether it's nature, technology, community, God, gods, money, spirits or whatever! I think we like to know there is a higher purpose than just a solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short existence (Thomas Hobbes).
I know children who have no idea what happens when you die. Some people will say that nobody really knows what happens--but that's not my point. I'm saying that what we believe really matters!! In this one area, Jennifer was never educated. Children are seekers too. I think it's important not to neglect the spiritual or religious education of our children (and it can't hurt to throw in a pet for good measure!). If a child is taught nothing, then they are open to believe anything--this is not necessarily a good thing in this crazy world.