“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” Jos 24:15 NIV
Good decision making is the key to a happy life. But good decision making is not a skill some of us are naturally blessed with, while poor decision making is a handicap others are born with. Courage, education, or the aging process don’t automatically produce better decision makers. Spending time with good decision makers is wise, but it doesn’t rub off on you. And the earlier you teach this skill to your children, the better (See Pr 22:6). So teach your children the following principles: (1) The consequences you get are the result of the choices you make. Let your children know it’s not their circumstances, but decisions they make about them, that govern their lives. You may think your kids know this, but they don’t. Their “wiring problem” makes “cause and effect” difficult to connect until their brain reaches later adolescence. Asking, “What were you thinking about?” will just invite the famous shoulder shrug and blank stare. They’re not stupid—they just need guidance. (2) You will always have options. Kids commonly feel powerless and hopeless when reacting to negative circumstances. They tend to be “either/or” thinkers, concluding that things are either all good or all bad. Teach them “both/and” thinking, because things can be bad yet you can choose to make good decisions about them. “Either/or” thinking frequently produces kids who become pessimistic, disempowered, easily manipulated, depressed adults. Knowing they always have good options prevents circumstances from dictating their lives.
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