Becoming an adult brings many challenges, and the financial responsibilities are just the beginning of it. At some point comes the realisation that there is more to this world than sport and music, and sooner or later you find yourself talking ethics, politics etc. with your friends.
For me, this came very early. At 14 I was already having heavy debates on serious topics, asking too many questions, and reading Marx in my spare time. I already started choosing friend by values, rather than the bands they listened to, and I wasn't your typical light-headed teen.
But even if you are an aware young person, there are surprises.
My younger daughter moved away from the rural idyll we raised her in, and jumped into the deep end of adult life in the city - it really hasn't been easy for her, one way or another. But this is not her story. This is about her epiphany. Lately she has spent more and more time looking at "issues", and today she contacted me having had a falling out with an old school friend over one such issue.
She showed me the conversation. It wouldn't matter whether you agreed with her actual stance or not, it's quite clear that she is being the adult in the conversation, and the "friend" is just parroting something he's heard in the media, or from another person who can't think for themselves. She kept her cool, and kept to the facts. I'm proud of her. But it breaks my heart to hear her say that - there goes another old friend, and.....
"Oh my God Mom, they're all ignorant racists!"
There are some things you can get past. Differences of opinion are natural, normal, and good. But when you are being bombarded by the most egregious racism, backed up by "facts" that can be easily demonstrated to be complete nonsense, you have to question the core values of the person believing and sharing the nonsense.
Why do they believe it? What do they get from sharing it?
It all goes back to fear of other, and the belief that "The way I do things is right, and the only way to do things." In other words, bigotry.
My daughter would like to remain friends with other people connected to this person, so she can't even say what she's really thinking. What she'd like to say is:
"I refuse to tolerate racism or sexism of any kind"
But apparently that statement is seen to be inflammatory. Eventually though, she's going to have to say it, for clarity.
People argue, it's what people do. Differences of opinion are one thing, being completely unreasonable is quite another. It's very hard being the voice of reason, especially when you find yourself in a minority.
But I would remind everyone one of this: