Choices have consequences. On Monday evening as I listened to a short news item, it was stated that the one person killed on the bus in the crash on the Cunningham highway was not wearing a seat belt. The statement indicated that all the others were wearing their seat belt. Perhaps there was a reason why that person was not wearing it at the time or perhaps the choice was made not to wear it. In this case such a seemingly insignificant choice has had far reaching consequences.
How do we make our choices? What do we tell and teach our children? We all need a compass to find our direction. We need to know where ‘true north’ is located. Pat Mesiti, the Executive Director of Youth Alive in New South Wales, sees parents as leaders to their children who provide help for them to find values-based bearings. Through working with youth, he has gleaned a lot of wisdom to pass on to parents. He says,
Steer them (your children) in the right direction in such a way that your boundaries do not restrict, but rather launch them. Discipline is not an enemy; it is a true friend.
Help your children understand that life is not a destination but a journey, full of mountains and valleys to overcome.
Children need to know that we too struggle with issues in our lives and need to see how we work through them. They need to know that perfection is not the goal in life, but we aim for excellence. We want them to grow up, we want them to feel that they have our acceptance and not just our attention. They want to be valued as authentic, original individuals, and they want to be loved. Parents have the responsibility to strengthen their children’s gifts and assist them in their weaknesses.
We are mistaken if we think that what we do does not strongly speak to our children. Pat uses the following example of how a decision of his parents has affected him. He writes,
My parents would not allow me to go swimming for fear I would drown…. Their fear created a fear of water in me. It also created an inability to swim which to this day still haunts me.
God give us wisdom in what we do, because what we do is a compass for our children. May that compass direct them to You.
Neil P. Schiller