Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Sometimes life is like jumping one hurdle after the other (I just wish I had longer legs.........LOL)
Today's post actually came to me as I was driving through town this morning. I only observed this scene for possibly 5 seconds and yet it said SO very much. It was in a convenient store parking lot. There were two vehicles side by side. The gentleman was lifting a large suitcase from one vehicle into the other as 2 children sat in the back seat. The woman stood back, arms firmly crossed with a very stern look on her face. I could be mistaken but I was pretty sure that this was probably a separated couple exchanging the children after a time of staying with the other parent. Sadly I have witnessed this scene on numerous occasions at different times throughout the years. And although I am blessed not to have had to go through this myself I have driven across the country with a dear friend to meet her child's father "half way". I understand the crossed arms and the look. It does not just represent the moment but possibly years of memories flowing through their mind. This scene is just part of the consequences of someones actions.
After I saw this scene I began to question what I could gain from what I witnessed. First I said a prayer for all those involved. Those parents..the children..the grandparents...the aunts and uncles...the people that will now go days, weeks or months without a hug from those two children. And it made me think about a conversation that we had with our kids just lately. I remember Rob telling Dustin..."EVERY decision you make has a consequence. Maybe good, maybe bad, but there will be a consequence. Sorry to Mr. Holt but probably the only thing I ever learned in Science class was..For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So simple and yet so profound. To go along with this, one of the most helpful things I learned in a Psychology class that I took a few years ago was this. One of the last parts of the brain to develop is the prefrontal cortex. This is what allows a person to understand consequences and be able to look long term. This finally fully develops around the age of 21. This made SO much sense to me!! This totally changed my way of parenting. I now parent under the assumption that they REALLY don't get it and it is not completely their fault. But this does not give them the freedom to do whatever they want, it just means I have to parent different. Just assuming that they will do what is right because you have taught them morals and values and have tried to live your life good is not enough. You have to be Hands On. You have to use Every instance to DRILL consequences into their head. You have to make the answers to those tough decisions solid in their minds. They are not just going to make the best decision because you are a "good family". I know plenty of "good families" that are living life differently than they had planned because of decisions that their children made that weren't the best...teen pregnancy, prison, drinking and driving - the list goes on and on. It doesn't make them bad parents or bad kids, just poor decisions. Most of those kids that I have talked to that are in these positions tell me that they wish they could change things, that they could go back because they would have done things differently.
But that brings me back to my earlier story. What happens when it's not a teenager? What happens when as adults we make poor decisions? When those decisions have consequences that hurt others and turn lives upside down? The other thing that Rob told Dustin is that no matter what you ALWAYS take responsibility for what you do. No matter how much pain it is going to cost you - you do it!! When we were on our way home from Milwaukee the other night Rob told us a story about a job that he was doing for a farmer not long ago. This was a man that he had never worked for but he had been referred to by some people that Rob had worked for before. He was repairing the man's ridgeroad and at one point he had to take a culvert out. The culvert was in good condition but they didn't need it so Rob was just to push it off into the woods and the farmer would come out later and pull it to his barn. Well as he was moving it part of his bucket came down and crushed the pipe. He hopped off the machine and looked in the pipe and sure enough he had caused about a foot long crack on the inside. It wasn't visible from the outside but the pipe's effectiveness was now compromised. Later that day when the man came up to see the job Rob took him over to the pipe and explained what happened and said that he would replace the pipe. The man looked at him and said "Rob - you didn't have to even tell me that. There is no way I would have ever known that was there." He said that he was not accepting a replacement and Rob was not to even think about it again. And then he said these words.."Rob Wanless, your reputation precedes you..." So Rob looked at me and said, "So what did he mean by that?" Rob is the most humble human being I have ever met. I explained that this man had been told by many people what kind of work Rob does. And now seeing his honesty he was completely impressed. No matter how hard Rob pushed to try to make things right with the man he would not talk of it anymore and Rob finally had to just accept the man's kindness. And there is no doubt in my mind that he will recommend Rob to others.
So Rob once again said to Dustin...Everything we do has a consequence...good or bad...there is a consequence. Rob's honesty and integrity has benefited him more times than we can count. He is an amazing man with wonderful values and in my eyes he is the most incredible man I could have ever imagined being blessed with. And yet I realize even with that no one is "perfect". Not Rob, not me and not our children. We all have our issues and weakness's'. There are many ways that Satan messes with us and tries to convince us that we are not worthy to be called a child of God. We see it all the time - Good people making poor decisions...If there is one thing I know - Satan is incredibly good at what he does. The Bible says Satan comes to Kill, Steal and Destroy. And there is no quicker way that he can put all of that into action than with one single action that sets off a multitude of consequences.
So today I dream for you the ability to pay special attention to your actions. What stream of reactions is that one thing setting off? Are there positive consequences to your actions or negative? Today set a goal of making at least one action that you know will have a positive consequence. Make someone smile, do a task to help someone out...the opportunities are ENDLESS!!!