Just a decade ago, I was a schoolteacher working in some of the rougher comprehensives on Teesside, North-East of England.
In those days I had two catchphrases:
I don’t like spoon-feeding people.
I prefer to treat adults as adults.
So, should I now break these two golden rules? Actually, I’m referring to the later, rather than the former. I’ve known Green Leader and VW since I moved to this city in January 2012.
Both are very nice people, devout Christians. VW told me today that she and Green Leader have got engaged.
VW, in particular, is salt of the earth: Sunday school teacher, house group leader, very good on the pastoral side. In my opinion, she would be an excellent, all-rounder vicar.
Green Leader is also a generally likeable guy. We often joke about Zimbabwe, Rhodesia, Ian Smith, Uncle Bob, Clem Tholet and Jon Edmonds. That may mean nothing to you, but… hey, what’s Google for? Now, here’s the rub, the central problem or difficulty in a situation. Green Leader is a nice guy. But he’s also neurotic with a capital N (italicised and bold). He can never give a straight answer to a straight question.
Q. Green Leader, do you prefer tea or coffee?
A. Let me explain the reality of the situation like this. I like coffee. I like tea, too. But the actualite of the situation is, I like both. I really thirst for coffee and indeed any hot beverage.
[Add another five minutes of explanation, including an exhortation that Northern Europe should increase its birthrate.]
So: in a summary.
- I like both people.
- They are both nice people.
- I don’t think they are going to be a well-suited married couple.
- While VW, is very stable, Green Leader has mental health issues, namely tension and anxiety, and won’t take medication to combat the symptoms.
- Should I express my opinion to VW, who is in her 40’s, very approachable and rational?
After all, as I said before, I like to treat adults as adults. But should I, on the other hand, be like Sergeant Wilson off Dad’s Army and ask:
Do you really think that’s wise?
I have no intention of policing my friends’ personal lives, but on the other hand, would I be failing in my duty as friend if I did not say, like The Housemartins?
I find my next-door neighbour likeable. But…. it doesn’t mean I’d want to marry her. If I don’t talk to VW, would it be a case of sin of omission, by not wanting to interfere?
Have a puzzling day, won’t you!