(October 27th, 2011)
To understand this event, I need to give a little background about myself personally. I am, at the time of writing, a 30-year-old vegetarian woman who lives in a 3-bedroom house with her 6 cats, 2 dogs, fishtanks, and numerous houseplants (including some fascinating carnivorous species). Due to a multitude of health issues, I have never had a chance to marry, nor do I have the energy to spare for courtship. To make matters worse, even if I did someday wish to pursue a romantic relationship, my health would make it nearly impossible for my boyfriend/husband to touch me, and absolutely impossible to do anything "else".
Because my health also limits my ability to get out of the house and get my much-needed doses of social interaction, I invite the few local kids who still live in my tiny, western Kansas farm town to come over to my place to hang out. I have a laptop computer with internet, a Wii (also with internet), a PS2, 2 DS game systems (a DSi and a 3DS), and numerous boardgames they are welcome to play with while visiting my home. I also buy them a nice amount of snack food every month (when I go on my monthly shopping trips) and some small "fun size" candy bars, of which they are allowed to pick 2 per day. Since our local library is only open a few times a week for a couple hours at a time, my house has become the local hang-out for the two families of pre-teens and teens (as well as a few young adults from those families) who live in this town.
As a final personal note, I should mention the rules of my house. I do not permit profanity (at least not within my hearing range), nor do I permit lude or inappropriate jokes. As I tell them, "If it's not G-rated, it doesn't need repeated." I also ask that if they use something, they put it away when they're done, and if they make a mess, they clean it up. If they want to earn a few extra dollars for themselves, I frequently have chores they may do for me to get paid, if they wish to do so. As for the computer, the first rule I tell every person who comes over to use it is, "No porn". I will not tolerate any use porn in my home, and it's one of two things that they've been told will earn them a permanent ban from my house (the other is stealing).
On that note, I'll relate what one of the kids told me yesterday. He has a friend from a town about 15 minutes drive away who sometimes comes over to visit or stay the night with him. When his friend comes over, he says that they can't come over to my house because his parents forbid him to come to my house. They think, according to him, that any 30-year-old woman who lets kids come over to her house and gives them free candy must be a child molester.
Now, I'm not offended by this baseless accusation. Goodness knows I've been accused of other crazy things before, such as a few supposedly religious people saying that all my health problems stem from the fact that I play a video game as evil and Satanic as Pokemon *eyeroll*. It did, however, make me stop and think. I had always assumed that it was impossible to offend people merely by being kind. I now see that this is, in fact, not true. I considered what I would do in such a situation, and I honestly feel that a better solution would be to come and meet the 30-year-old woman. Sit down and talk with her. Find out why she has no children of her own and yet loves to be around children and makes a place in her home for them to visit and enjoy themselves. I think that I would find out more about someone before I proposed the possibility that they might be a child molester and forbad my child from visiting their home.
In short, I feel that we should all try to be slower to take offence and quicker to bear one another's burdens that they may be light. Perhaps, if we do so, we'll be able to change the common saying from "No good deed goes unpunished" to something more positive, such as "No good deed is ignored" or "No good deed goes unpraised".