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This I Believe: Karen Bishop

By edited by Hayley Salvo


Kansas City, MO – My father had plenty of ready-to-use phrases when I was growing up. Some were profound, My daughters will not grow up to be second-class citizens." Some were silly, "Ask me if I'm a truck driver. Are you a truck driver? No. And some were just annoying, There are a hundred better places you could have put that pair of shoes. One saying, however, stands above the others: Watch out for the crazies, and don't be one. It might not be a Golden Rule, but it's a pretty close Silver.

As a child, crazies took on the image of Roald Dahl's giants from the BFG, half-dressed, drooling creatures that snatched children. Scary, yes, but pretty easy to recognize and avoid, and I knew that I could never be one of these beasts.

It wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized that crazies wouldn't come lumbering and slobbering down the street. I began to see crazies in the friends I might choose or the boys I might date. I began to see crazies on the roads that I drove and at the parties that I attended. I also began to see the crazy inside of me, and I understood that I, too, could become one. But there was that saying, that darned saying of my father's, that wouldn't allow me to let loose my own personal wild thing.

Huge worldwide issues aside, crazies in my adult life are actually a much more subtle sort. They are the people who work like maniacs for bigger houses or more clothes - that's crazy! Or who cannot find joy in family - that's crazy! Or who cannot say no to unending, unfulfilling, unappreciated, unnecessary outside duties - that's crazy! I avoid these energy-drainers and have committed myself to not being one.

I have my own children now, and I have developed my own personal childrearing sayings. Some are profound, All things in moderation. Some are silly, "Ain't no thang. And some are annoying, There are a hundred better places you could have put that pair of shoes. But even at five, three, and one, my children hear, Watch out for the crazies and don't be one. You can be sure, though, that I won't be reading them the BFG anytime soon.

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