Last week, I wrote about the importance of practicing healthy paranoia. The definition of “paranoia” is “a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others.” My definition of “healthy paranoia” is “the intentional practice on the part of a person to be reasonably and rationally suspicious and distrustful of people who the person is not intimately familiar with, so the person can guard against unanticipated surprises and dangers.”
I recently joined my wife and some of our children at a local theater to see the movie, The Greatest Showman. The movie is a musical about the life of P.T. Barnum. It begins when Barnum is a boy. He is the son of a poor tailor who does work for a wealthy man. The man looks down on Barnum and his father, because of their lower-class status.
If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you may have noticed that all the rides have one thing in common. At the end of each ride, there is no way for you to immediately get back into the open, where you’re allowed to roam around and look for another ride. Before you can do that, you have to walk through a gift shop. The end of each ride is set up so that you are forced to exit into a gift shop.
On a Sunday afternoon during the summer of 1985, I drove my young family to my parents’ home for a visit. The adults ended up in the back yard sitting on lawn chairs, while the children played in the yard. At one point, a bird landed near my four-year-old son, Harry. He immediately ran toward the bird to see if he could catch it.
On a Sunday afternoon in May 1987, I drove my family to my parents’ house so that we could visit with them. At the time, Georgette and I had four children — Harry, Anna, Maria, and Laura. When we arrived, my mom wished me a happy birthday. I had turned 30 the previous week. After wishing me a happy birthday, my mom’s first question was, “How does it feel to be 30 years old?”