I didn't sleep last night, I ended up spending hours talking with my friend's mom because I was trying to calm her down. She had been crying so much and had been so hurt that her heart was in physical pain, and that caused me great sadness. If you hadn't seen the journal previously, my friend had run away from home because he thinks that he can do better for himself on his own. There are so many people out there who would kill for the opportunity to live a life like my buddy. He has it made, everything he could ever ask for his parents provided for him, but the only thing he lacked was discipline. Growing up, I remember I was lacking everything but discipline. I remember begging my mom for a gaming console, or cell phone, or anything that would help me to look like all the other kids who I went to school with, but my mom wouldn't budge. My mom said that video games are bad for me, and she even made it so that I couldn't watch shows that I enjoyed. I had to sneak to watch Yu-Gi-Oh or Dragon Ball Z because my mom thought they were too violent. I used to envy all of my friends who had everything that they wanted, who were spoiled by their families. Some of my friends had an affluent upbringing, where their families had a lot more money than mine. Now that I'm older, I understand that the way that I was brought up was much better than that of my friends.

When I got in trouble I got hit with a belt, a wooden sandal, or that weird bamboo broom that my mom had. I used to hate my mom. I used to think that she was the worst mom in the world because she wouldn't let me have what other kids had. I knew that we were poor but that doesn't stop a kid from dreaming to be like everyone else. That kind of life is something that I'm glad I was saved from. I love my mom. I can't imagine what a life would be like where I got everything that I wanted without working hard for it. There would be no ownership over the things that I have, I would just have them. If I wanted a game it would just be there, if I wanted a new laptop it would just be there, if I wanted an electric drum set or a new electric guitar it would be there. I'd be living a life where I'd be taught that I don't need to work for anything. This is not a healthy way to live, and case number one is my friend who ran away from home. I offered to help him in so many ways, whether it be resume building or job-hunting, whether it be applying for college and financial aid, whatever it was I was willing to put in a fair amount of effort to help him. I would not do things for him, but I would be there for him to help him and guide him if he needed me. The thing is, I would make myself available. He did not want to do anything, and now he thinks that going off on his own will force him to do stuff. The reality is he still needs his family because he thinks like a child.

I worry for my friend and I want him back home where he would be safe. His mother is heartbroken, his father is saddened, and his sister is confused. I am unfazed by most of this as I have had quite an experience with people who act erratically and without clear cause. Even though he is my friend, this isn't something that I wouldn't expect from him, but it is something that makes me upset because I want what's best for him even if he doesn't want what's best for himself. Freedom isn't being physically out on your own, freedom is much more internal than external. He felt trapped and he believes that this will let him be free, but in reality he will be more restricted than he ever was before. This is the story of The Prodigal Son. My friend will come back home, the question is just how long it will take before he realizes that things are better with his family.