I read a post the other day by Ellen at DotMoms about how to teach your children to be good decision makers. It reminded me of our night out at Chuck E. Cheese (this is not another fart story, so don't worry). At the end of all the fun and games we cashed in our tickets and went to pick out our prizes. If you put a five year old in front of 15 prize options and tell him to choose, you better get comfortable, because you're going to be there for awhile. The guy behind the counter was painfully aware of this fact and he obviously didn't like waiting on his side of the counter any more than I liked waiting on mine. After about 3 minutes of "ummms" he pulls out a whole tray of huge lollipops. BASTARD! A 5-inch lollipop is like crack on a stick to a five-year-old, and I was the one who was going to have to deal with the mania and the withdrawal. But it achieved its desired effect; King was sold in an instance, no hemming and hawing involved. The only problem was that he still had more "points" to use, but at least the choices were dwindling. Finally, he chose his second prize and Curtis told the attendant he wanted two Coca-Cola rulers (one for him & one for Michael: my idea to shorten the process). King got his rulers and looked at them.
"What is this?"
"It's a ruler."
"I wanted the purple lizard."
Coca-Cola ruler. Purple Lizard. They sound the same, right? Frankly, I was a little puzzled by the ruler choice. Proud, but puzzled. The lizard made more sense.
This seemingly trivial and most definitely maddening exercise illustrates how difficult it can be to choose sometimes. Have you ever known someone who couldn't make a decision? How annoying is that? I've known people that were so indecisive that if they were standing in front of two buckets of water and their butt was on fire, they wouldn't be able to decide which one to sit in. They are so afraid of making the wrong decision that they choose no action at all.
So how do I teach my boys to be good decision makers? Not only do I want them to make wise decisions, but to have the courage to take action when action is needed. In instances of moral dilemma we can rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us. I once explained to King that the Holy Spirit was like Jiminy Cricket, that little voice inside you that tells you when you are doing something wrong. Much to my surprise he understood and remembered my analogy and turned it on me later. I was apologizing for something I had done and he said "You weren't listening to your conscience, were you?" Doh!
However, sometimes there seems to be no clear right or wrong answers, while the questions still seem vitally important. Take my role as a mother, for example. I have been entrusted with the physical and emotional well-being of two human beings. No pressure there. The only way I have found to continue on without being completely overwhelmed by the charge I have been given, is through my faith in Jesus Christ. He has made me a promise: If I seek Him first, He will take care of the rest. I am ordered not to worry. I can't control things, nor can I see the future, so I'm just wasting my time worrying over things I can't change anyway. (Luke 12:22-34)
If I can pass this on to my children, they will have all they need to make the right decisions in their lives. They can go forward with courage, knowing that God who loves them is guiding their way. In this world of endless options, they don't need to be frozen in fear of picking the wrong path. There is no place they can go that will take them away from God's love. He will always provide them with a way home.