One of the most important gifts we can give our children is the ability to make wise choices. If they are able to learn this valuable skill, then we can assume that eventually our children will be able to make the wisest decision they will ever be faced with: choosing Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
There are consequences with every decision we make, whether good or bad.
We can begin training them in this essential life skill when they are very little by giving them easy choices that they must adhere to. In other words, we need to be proactive about creating decision-making opportunities. Mealtimes are wonderful learning opportunities. Start small by offering two different options and allowing your child to choose, then enforcing the decision. Something like this works well:
“Johnny would you like cereal or eggs for breakfast?”
Let’s assume Johnny chooses eggs and Sissy chooses cereal. As Johnny begins to eat his eggs, little Sissy comes up with her bowl of Fruit Loops. All of a sudden, Johnny becomes jealous and whines for what Sissy has… Sound familiar?
What would you do? Have you ever thought this scenario through? If the whining gets loud enough, will you just give in? It is ONLY a bowl of cereal right? No, that bowl of cereal has now become an important opportunity, a safe place to learn a valuable life-lesson. It is important as a parent to help your child work through stuff like this when they are little because as they grow older the decisions, as well as the consequences of those decisions, will be so much more important.
Our goal as parents is to give our children the tools they need to make wise decisions. Because of this, we need to surround them ample opportunities to learn in a safe and loving environment.
When children makes choices that they are not satisfied with, should we allow them to escape the consequences of those choices? If we remove the consequences of their actions, will they be properly prepared for life?
A person of character and integrity is one who can face the consequences of their life-choices (even the not-so-wise ones) with grace and dignity.
Will you give in to little Johnny when he whines about his eggs because he changed his mind? Do you have a plan in place to carefully train your little world- changer to make wisdom-based decisions? We have often had our own children make a list of the pros and cons of decisions they are facing. After they have made a list, we will go over it with them and help them to review all aspects and consequences. It has not only helped us to get to know how our children are wired in their decision-making, but it gives them a good strategy for life as well.
Finally, when your child is facing the painful consequence of making an unwise decision, how do you respond? Pounding an already ashamed and depressed heart with parental disapproval will not help the situation nor your relationship for that mater. Just as the Lord reaches out to us with his loving-kindness, we need to reach out to our precious children and draw them back through our love and acceptance no matter what they are facing. Our families should be that safe-place where we can learn the tools we need to grow, make decisions and build relationships.
May the Lord bless you and yours,
Stasia is mother to six beautiful children and wife to a dedicated, loving husband. They have served as a family together on the mission field on four continents for over 33 years. She is a Crisis Response Chaplain with the BGEA Rapid Response Teams. Stasia’s passion is to share in true colors the grace of God in her life. She serves as Co-Director of the Women’s Bible Cafe. Stasia is also the CEO of LifeVerse Books. Subscribe to LVB to receive regular free and discounted book deals and timely reviews. If this article has blessed you in any small way, please consider showing your support by clicking subscribe in the upper right corner. Copyright© 2018 Stasia Nielsen. All Rights Reserved.