No one in this world is perfect


Editor's note: This is an open letter to Greg Wall who penned a citizen's view last Thursday in the Lake Oswego Review:

Hey, Greg:

I hear you. The world does present us with many choices between good and evil, right and wrong, some of them pretty obvious and easy to reject, but also some that are not so clear or easy to forget, but we should never fear to face them or try to hide from them. The world needs our constructive thinking.

It is the task of every one of us, as responsible members of society, to examine and question the thoughts and feelings that come to us, but not to fear them, even if they seem a bit sinful or scary, and hard to get out of our head. The physical and emotional changes going on in a teen-ager's mind and body can exaggerate the importance of ordinary things. Fear or guilt about the thoughts and feelings we may have can sometimes be from nothing more than our lack of experience in dealing with the world. Each of us possesses the free moral agency to think and act rightly and to choose between good and evil. Facing our thoughts and feelings, and learning how to make the choices we believe are nearest what is righteous, will strengthen our ability to make constructive choices, then the fears and guilt subside. Your teachers' task is not to insulate or isolate you from the world as it exists. Their task is to put before you carefully selected examples of this world, both good and evil, from which you can learn to make constructive choices as a responsible citizen while you're still within the safety of your school, before you leave both school and home and have to make those choices on your own.

You may have seen the little sculpture of three monkeys, one covering its eyes with its hands, one covering its ears, and the third one covering its mouth - known as see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. This kind of behavior may be all right for monkeys, but it's not all right for men.

Ease up on yourself and others. No one in this world is perfect. Life as a teen-ager is challenging enough without having to be perfect. Select your friends for the good and happy qualities they express; but don't try to insolate or isolate yourself from the world, bad as it may seem. It doesn't work. You need to be aware of what's 'out there,' without fearing or focusing too much on the evil, so that it doesn't blindside you unawares, one day.

Jim Coleman is a resident of Lake Oswego.