Behavior is the Truth

This is from Andrew Vachss‘s “Children’s book for Adults,” Another Chance to Get It Right. The title alone says a lot. We all have another chance, every day, to do the right thing. There is no absolution for past wrongs. The closest that comes to it are the good deeds we do today.

Children know the truth
Love is not an emotion
Behavior is the truth.

You can say I love you a thousand times, but if you call your kid “a piece of garbage” (as a childhood friend’s mother was fond of calling her son) it means nothing. To quote INXS, Words are weapons, sharper than knives. This article in Parade magazine says all that needs to be said: You Carry the Cure in Your Own Heart.
We make our own monsters in abusive homes and prisons; we also make our own bullies in the checkout line and the dinner table, by teaching that belittlement and humiliation are valid corrective behavior. My friend Daniel B. O’Shea wrote long and heartfelt about the idiot father who shot up his 15 year old daughter’s laptop because she complained about chores on Facebook. If you raise a brat, look in the mirror. Do you throw a fit when the waitress is slow to refill your drink? Where did they learn this petulance from? Do you correct spoiled children by acting like spoiled children?

©1993 Andrew Vachss & Frank Caruso. Used with permission.

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© 2012 Thomas Pluck