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Good Secrets and Bad Secrets
(A message addressing potential child abuse situations in which children find themselves trapped.)

How many of you have ever had a secret? (Allow responses) Do you like secrets? Why? (Allow responses)

I like secrets because I know something that other people don't know. That is what a secret is, isn't it? What does it mean to keep a secret? (Allow responses) To keep a secret is not to tell anybody what you know, even if they ask you to tell them.

Secrets can be fun, but sometimes they can be confusing. I have a lot of questions about secrets.

Are all secrets good secrets?

Should we always keep a secret?

If an older person tells us to keep something a secret, should we always obey them?

What would you do if you went shopping with your mommy to buy your brother a birthday present and your mommy said, "Don't tell your brother what we bought him. It will be a secret." Then your brother asked you what your mommy bought him for his birthday. Would you tell him or would you keep the secret?

What would you do if your sister was playing hide and seek with her friends and she told you not to tell her friends where she was hiding. Then her friends came to you and asked, "Where is your sister?" Would you tell them or would you keep the secret?

Those two stories are about good secrets, the kind of secrets it is good to keep. They are fun secrets.

What would you do if you saw a man you didn't know take a bicycle from your neighbor's yard and he told you not to tell anyone because it was a secret and he wanted to surprise your neighbor. Would you keep the secret or would you tell your parents what you saw?

What would you do if your cousin or an older neighborhood boy wanted you to do something you had never done before, something you didn't think was right to do; and he told you to keep it a secret? Would you keep the secret or would you tell your parents?

Those two stories are about bad secrets, the kind of secrets that you don't have to keep.

There are good secrets we should keep and there are bad secrets we do not have to keep. If anyone ever asks you to keep something a secret and you don't think what they did is right or you aren't sure it is a good secret, it's okay to break the secret and tell someone. Ask your mom or dad if the secret is a good secret or a bad secret.

Don't be afraid to ask your parents about a secret that you don't think is right. God has given us moms and dads to help us learn the difference between good secrets and bad secrets. (Daniel T. Hans is Pastor of United Presbyterian Church, Milford, CT.)
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