- Mental Health
Confession - It is Good For You Mentally and Spiritually
I have been known as "Mom" to all of my son's friends for a very long time. As a matter of fact, all of his friends have called me either "Mom" or endearingly as "Momholio" after the Beevus and Butthead comics since they were in jr. high, until now, and he is now age 33. They all still come and visit me, and still call me by those names.
During all this time, we have had one habit that at first they were not sure of, but through the years, have learned to like, and at times they bring it up as something they want to do, and it makes me feel like their priest sometimes.
It started like this----I said one day to one of his more unscrupulous friends, "Confession time", I just announced.
"Huh", was the rather worried looking response.
"It's simple, confession is good for the soul, so if you tell me the worst thing you have done all month, I will confess to you the worst thing I have done. Is it a deal?" I asked.
After contemplating the question for a couple of minutes, he finally responded, "OK, sure, I'll tell you my worst deed, and then you tell me yours, is that it?" he double checked?
"Yep, that's how it works". I said, I quickly began thinking about what it was that I was going t confess to him in return, for I hadn't exactly expected him to comply.
He began telling me about a fight he had gotten into with another guy, from a street gang that he was in fighting terms with due to opposite beliefs in befriending people of other nationalities. If we want to get right down to it, it was a skin head gang against a black and Latino gang from our neighborhood. They normally left each other alone, but oddly enough, they had gotten into an argument about me. Someone had put a rumour out on the street that I was a "rat", and me being a friend of the "family" so to speak, was defended. All this had taken place without my knowledge, and if I had not just offhandedly asked for this confession time, I would have never known anything about it.
I was shocked and surprised to find out that I was the center of this confession, but it continued.....and he described the fight, how he had almost gotten knocked down an embankment, and this fight had been against someone who was more than double his size, for he was only about 5'5", and the other guy was a good 6'3" tall. He finished the confession with the way the fight ended, which I will not go into here and now.
When he was done, he looked up at me and said, and if it is OK, I have one more thing I would like to tell you, cause it kind of felt good to tell someone I can trust about these things. He continued to tell me about something that he had stolen that week too.
Well now it was my turn, and suddenly something came to mind that I had not even thought about before. "I have a confession to make about a phone call that I had with my mother a couple of weeks ago", and I continued telling him about a call I had had with my mother that ended up in a rather heated argument and with some rather disrespectful things I had said in anger to my Mother."
It went over rather well, for the street gangs respect the mother thing, which rather suprised me, for I thought that they respected nobody. After we had both confessed, with tghe air cleared he smiled at me and reached over and gave me a hug, and cried a little which made me do the same. We both agreed that what we had done was wrong, and that we would both do what we could to repair the ills we had created.
That was a few years ago, and ever since then whenever any of the group of kids (as I call them) get together, we do the same thing. Sometimes it is called by me, and sometimes by them, but somebody will call out "Confessions time", and it is begun.
It has always been promised that anything told during this time will not be repeated outside of our circle, and the whole purpose is solely to confess our souls. It has gone a long way to bringing trust between the generations, and has been very good for repairing the things that have been done that we wished had not.
Confession is good for the soul, and it has been especially wonderful in this group for some of them are gang members, some are just plain old school kids, some are adults who need to understand what is going on with their some of the people their own age but not their own social status. Some are christians who need to learn not to judge, and so on .....
All in all it has been a wonderful experience for all concerned for when it is the turn of the other party, we all learn that nobody is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes, and everybody does things that they regret later. It has made for a great way to bring people together who otherwise would not ever, and it has been great for teaching everyone that things can be reversed, that hearts and souls can be mended, and wrongs can be forgiven if approached in a good and forgiving manner.
This has continued, I have been told, with other people and groups, and it has been something that has trickled downhill and caught on with other family members and social groups in our area. It has been a very healing and mending "tradition" that started with me and a very young street gang member, and has grown to a much greater proportion I am proud to say.
One never knows what will become of an idea, unless you try....