My daughter wanted to go to a panel discussion at a local police department, to lend moral support to a fellow high schooler who would join five other teens in sharing their story from drug use to recovery. I said I would go, too.
On the ride home I asked my daughter what she thinks of school drug education programs. She said they tend to backfire. I asked why. She said they tell the kids about every drug under the sun, as well as every other conceivable method of getting high:
"Hey kids, just because you're in sixth grade and you can't get your hands on crack yet, that doesn't mean you couldn't get high by sniffing nail polish. So don't do that, OK?"
"Hey kids, there's probably half a dozen things in your parents' medicine cabinet right now that could get you high-right within reach. So don't go there!"
"Hey kids, don't you dare ever try to tie a belt around your neck and the other end to a door, and play the 'choking game' to get a real good high, because you could kill yourself. Or, like I said, you could get a real good high."
It never would have occurred to most kids to do any of that stuff unless you told them about it-and exactly how it's done.
All of which made me think about the two trees in the Garden of Eden. One was the Tree of Life. (Life, that's good.) The other was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
People consider it axiomatic that knowledge is always a good thing, no exceptions. It seems almost self-evident that the more information you acquire, the happier your life will be. The Serpent pushed that idea hard in the garden, and is still pushing it now.
But I realized as my daughter spoke about the drug program that it ain't necessarily so. What God says makes for happiness is what makes for happiness. And He warns us against some information "falsely called 'knowledge'" (1 Timothy 6:20) that does no good but only harm.
When my second son was 9, a relative of mine took him to see the movie Hannibal, without my knowledge. My son returned damaged goods. He had nightmares for months afterward and retains images in his mind that cannot be erased. (Let me not say that: God can do all things.). I mark that incident as his loss of childhood innocence.
Not all "knowledge" is good, not all knowledge brings happiness. It was love, not meanness, that made God forbid us from eating of certain trees.