We face decisions everyday. Some are large and some are small. Some can be life changing while others don’t really make much of a difference in our lives at all.
We learn how to make decisions through experience. But, how do you get this experience?
As a parent, because I was not going to be there with my children every step of the way throughout their lives, I needed to teach them how to be able to make good decisions.
From the day my children were born, I had a basic plan for their lives. I wanted them to get a good education, which would lead to a good job and their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their family if they choose to have one.
I don’t think I’m unique. This is probably the dream that many parents have for their children.
Many factors will influence whether or not a plan like this will come to fruition. One of the big ones that I foresaw was the decisions that they would have to make in their lives.
I felt there were many things that I had to do to raise healthy, well-balanced, intelligent children. As I said, one of the main things was to teach them the ability to reason.
When they were younger, I made decisions for them.
At their youngest age, I decided what time they went to bed, what they ate, and what schools they attended. They were not in a position to know what elementary schools to go to. They did not know how to take care of their medical needs or feed themselves good food.
Little by little, I started letting them make choices. At first, they were little choices that did not have much impact on their lives. However, as they grew, the magnitude of the decisions that they were able to and allowed to make grew.
The first decisions that they might have made were do I do my homework or watch TV? Along with making decisions, came the consequences, good or bad, of the decisions they made. I remember one of them deciding that homework was not that important one night. I let them go to school the next day without it. I don’t remember if they were embarrassed or punished at school but I do know that was the last time they chose not to do their homework.
As they got older, the choices they were allowed to make got harder and more serious. They chose their colleges. They chose their majors. My daughter has chosen her career while my son is still pondering his.
I feel as if I have given them a solid basis for being able to think about, reason, and foresee the consequences of decisions they may be called upon to make in and for their lives.
At times, my children still come to me for my advice and counsel. When they do, I try to explore with them their options and the possible results of the various decisions they could make.
Besides the life experience that I have gained, where is it that I can turn to for advice that I need? I have my family and my friends; but, more importantly, I have my relationship with God.
When the time comes that my experiences do not provide me with a sound basis for advising either my children or myself, I turn to God. Through prayerful reflection on His word, which He has given us in the Bible, and time spent in quiet meditation seeking His counsel, I generally find the inspiration that helps me come to sound decisions.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
When you find yourself in times of uncertainty and want to be sure you make the best decision you can, make God your first decision.