Dear Betty Ann,
I recently caught my brother poring over his class photo, using a red marker to circle various schoolmates. When I confronted him about it, he just laughed a sinister laugh, saying he was trying to figure out who “deserved to have their picture taken.”
But I believe he’ll regret defacing the photo, at least eventually. How can I teach him to give the respect due to memory-preserving items like these? How can I show him the value of something whose value can only reveal itself with time?
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Boys go through phases like this. There are likely a lot of changes going on in his life that he’s having trouble keeping up with, leading him to do things that might seem “strange” to an outsider. In particular, it sounds like your brother may have procured a demonic camera that kills people. His behavior should return to normal in a few weeks.
It sounds like you, on the other hand, are developing a kind of obsessive sentimentality that may be more than just a phase. While it’s certainly normal for children to go through “hoarding” spells, it’s important to monitor this so that it doesn’t turn into a full-blown TLC-worthy disorder requiring multiple storage units. Because severe hoarding will generally lead one’s home to become a messily terrifying document of one’s obsessive tendencies, you may find that it’s ultimately more destructive to a person’s social balance than outright murder. I know you only want to help your brother, but as they say: archivist heal thyself.
Hope this helps,