When I read in the newspaper about the high school teacher having sex with a student or the child who died during a “therapeutic” session, or the group treasurer who takes a few thousand dollars from the organization, I say, “I wish I could have been that teacher’s, that therapist’s, or that treasurer’s, attorney and counselor for 10 minutes.” I wish we could have had a conversation beforehand.
It is said, “We judge others by their conduct; we judge ourselves by our intentions.” Those mental intentions lay the groundwork for mental lies and excuses that serve us poorly. “The sex was consensual…..I never thought the child would die…..I planned to repay the money before anyone found out.” As someone who has spent time visiting criminal defendants in jails and prisons, I will tell you, YOU DO NOT WANT TO GO THERE. Forget about what you have read about minimum-security “resort” prisons with golf or tennis. You do not want to go to even the very best prison in this country. Not for a minute. But those mental lies and excuses people tell themselves put them there. And on top of it all, the criminal justice system is easy to get into and very difficult to get out of.
Since I am not often permitted that 10-minute conversation that prevents someone from doing something really dumb, I can at least send a general advisement to all of you reading this. I suggest you play a little pretend game. Whatever questionable or unusual conduct you may be thinking about doing, or are doing, pretend that you are explaining it to a newspaper reporter or a prosecuting attorney. Explain it out loud so you can really hear yourself and have the reporter/prosecutor ask you the ugly questions in return. If your mouth goes dry and the words don’t flow or don’t sound as good as they did in those mental excuses, don’t do it, or stop whatever you’ve started. Really think about what you’re doing; don’t be a volunteer for trouble.