One of my readers told me that she wanted to hear less about politics and instead to hear directly from my heart. This one's for you Emily.
I don't like secrets. Never have, never will. Ben Franklin supposedly said that "three can keep a secret if two of them are dead." (I can't swear he said it, even though my kids think I'm that old).
Some secrets are made to be kept. National Security requires it. Sometimes, business requires it. I can't discuss my information with my competitor. Some of my customers like to keep their information "private". All that makes sense. I don't have to do it often and I don't like it when I do.
But I hate it when people tells me something and say "now don't tell anyone" or "don't tell so-and-so". I hate it worse when they ask me not to share with my family.
So for the record, I don't keep secrets from family. Oh sure there are things that remain private. And I won't go into detail about finances with anyone but my wife. I decided long ago that my children just didn't need to know how much I made, how much I paid for my house or car. My goal was to avoid them trying to one-up their friends.
I once knew a family who believed in secrets. "Don't tell your father," the mother would say to her daughter or "don't tell your husband/wife". To me this seems to sow the seeds of distrust.
But you may say "I'm keeping this secret to protect them" to which I would say "who appointed you their protector?" Maybe when they were children. But at some point, you hope they've grown up. You hope you've trained them correctly. The husband and wife should be able to share everything.
I've also seen this protection abused. Happens more to wives by husbands, but could apply to anyone. Men "protect" their wives by hiding the truth or flat out lying to them. They end up treating their wives as lesser beings. Totally unfair. I've also seen it lead to sharing secrets with people other than a spouse. I think of this as "emotional adultery". Not surprisingly, it often leads to "physical adultery."
Now I do have an exception for some secrets. I'd call them surprises. Birthdays, Christmas, etc. Once I kept a "secret" when my wife's son came to visit on Mother's day. He was headed out of country to fight some bad guys. The surprise was wonderful. We also had a surprise birthday party for my wife. Everyone loves those kind of secrets. But these are all very specific and very time-oriented.
* Updated to correct spelling - My editor is tough. After the fact.