One of my favorite activities when working with youth during Confirmation at church is an exercise called Banana Surgery. Each of the groups is given a banana and a variety of “surgical implements”; toothpicks, paperclips, Scotch tape, staples, etc. They’re instructed to slice the banana three times, randomly, in any way possible. Some simply make three cuts, while the more creative groups peel before slicing. In any case, they’re next instructed to perform surgery and “heal” the bananas, with a prize going to the group that best “makes their banana whole”. They proceed with varying degrees of success, but none obviously can achieve the miraculous and return an unblemished banana.
To begin discussion on the activity, I’d simply choose the best looking banana, get the group’s consensus that this was in fact the most ideal banana…then offer it to any person to eat. The offer typically results in lots of “eewwws” and various other rejections, with nobody willing to accept the defiled banana. Following that response, I’d draw a comparison between the surgical bananas and each of us as individuals subject to the consequences of our choices. Have your attention kids?
Our bad decisions often result in scars of one kind or another. Sometimes they’re physical, like the evidence remaining after trying to jump your mountain bike when the coordination of youth has long passed. Other times we’re left fighting off mental baggage picked up when swayed by peer pressure to do something counter-productive, act in a certain way, be who we’re not, or believe what we know to not be true. There will be scars no matter, as “to err is human” per Alexander Pope in “An Essay on Criticism”. We can only hope they’re small, not transmittable, and have temporary effects.
The biggest danger and therefore greatest caution, is that some scars leave a person in a condition similar to the surgical bananas; altered in a way that makes people go “eewww”. What an epic tragedy to find the one person you believe will make you truly happy, only to be rejected by a tarnished reputation or physical issue caused by a bad decision? Forgiveness and Reconciliation are possible, allowing some scars to be wiped away, but they’re actions after the fact. Better to think about your actions before you move forward, and project the possible outcomes of each decision. Pick the one that keeps you from living with regret.
Love you, dad…