The Stranger

This is an amusing yet sobering  piece written by an anonymous person about the stranger living in his home growing up.  It is well- worth the short read.

The  Stranger

A   few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger  who  was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was  fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and  soon invited him to live with our family. The  stranger  was quickly accepted and was around

from  then on.   As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my  family.  In my young mind, he had a special niche.


My  parents were complementary instructors: Mom  taught  me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey.  But  the stranger… he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures,  mysteries  and comedies.  If  I wanted to know anything about politics, history  or   science, he always knew the answers about the past,  understood  the present and even seemed able to predict  the   future! He took my family to the first major league  ball  game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The

stranger  never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem  to  mind.  Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of  us  were shushing each other to listen to what he had to

say,  and she would go to the kitchen for peace and  quiet.  (I  wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger  to leave.)


Dad ruled our household with certain moral  convictions,  but   the stranger never felt obligated to honour  them.  Profanity,  for example, was not allowed in our home – not

from  us, our friends or any visitors. Our long time  visitor, however,  got away with four-letter words that burned my  ears  and made my dad squirm and my mother  blush.

My  Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol  but the stranger  encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He  made  cigarettes  look cool, cigars manly, and pipes  distinguished.

He  talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments  were  sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and  generally embarrassing. I now know that my early concepts about relationships were  influenced  strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed

the values of my parents, yet he was seldom  rebuked  and NEVER asked to leave.  More than fifty years have passed  since the stranger moved  in  with our family. He has blended right in and is  not nearly as  fascinating as he was at  first.

Still,  if you could walk into my  parents’ den today, you would still find him  sitting over

in  his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him  talk and watch  him draw his pictures.

His  name?….

We just call him ‘TV.’  He  has a wife now….we call her  ‘Computer.’ Their  first child is “Cell Phone”, their second child is  “iPod” and now we have a grandchild named “iPad”.

As parents, we are called to understand normal childhood development, and to not put the cart before the horse.  This is challenging in today’s fast moving society.  We need to remember that no matter what screen we place in front of our child or “let” our child have, it is opening a portal.


6 thoughts on “The Stranger

  1. Wow, this really gave me the creeps!! I’m so glad that I don’t have a TV or iPad. I just posted a link to the article on my Facebook page. Hopefully it’ll encourage friends to reconsider their children’s screen time. Thank you, Carrie.
    xo Jess (from the Sketch it Out program)

  2. Sums it up perfectly! And it has become a constant battle we fight on all fronts. Although there are no studies proving the benfit of computers in the classroom (and plenty pointing to its detriment!), current education “experts” push for more and more. Something those of you who homeschool don’t have to worry about!

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