My most recent post dealt with the need for children to release their parents from the failures of the past in order to take ownership of the lessons to be learned and thus, where their lives are headed as adults and the fact that the more successful people are often those who forgive early on and then move on feeling control over the direction they are headed. In the interest of balance, I would like to look at the other side of that same “imparting of wisdom” coin.
It says in 1 Timothy 4:12; “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, in purity.”
I spoke of the failure of children to listen to the wisdom of their elders because they could not look beyond the failings to see the wisdom gained from those experiences. Youth is not only at fault in this inability to connect. Too often do I see adults talking down to younger people and a lack of patience when one does not grasp a concept immediately, or disputes a fact. We forget knowledge and wisdom often come at an expense of years of ignorance and trial and error. We think that we have earned our haughty arrogance, but can you remember any stupid ideas that you believed just five years ago? I’ll bet you can. Don’t impugn someones intelligence due to youthful inexperience. Were you any wiser at his age? Probably not as much as you would like to believe. Give your advice, but allow for other ideas also.
When do you feel the most vulnerable? Probably when you lack either the knowledge needed to defend or protect yourself or yours when you feel that you are being or may be attacked. Children, and, to a lesser degree, young adults out of necessity compensate for their lack of practical knowledge of the world by relying on their heightened emotional, sensory, and intuitive capabilities. In place of advanced tools of experience and logic they work with the tools at their disposal: a keen sense of self-preservation and an emotional acuity that we adults have lost to suppression and attrition.I think that anytime that we want to talk to someone about behavior or respect, we must ask ourselves, “Have I really invested myself in this person’s life to an extent that would qualify me to hold them to this standard?” Often times we swoop in late and try to assess and fix what we see as damage. If we had been doing what we should in their lives to begin with would this intervention even seem necessary? Maybe we should watch how we are saying things. Maybe it isn’t only they that need to make some changes.
I would challenge you to name one defining or life-altering change that did not require a yes or no, right or wrong direction. Everything that we do at some point involves a decision, a best choice, which, if taken, moves you along or the alternative, which by comparison, falls short. Grey areas are for procrastinators and laggards and can only impede true progress. Kind of puts the lie to the so-called progressives who are in charge, but it does a good job of explaining their method of fixing things.
One of the worst things that we do to our kids is to deny them the comfort and security of clear and simple choices. When they have a sense that right and wrong are clear and simple we free our children the pain of making choices that they are not prepared to make. By living the principles that we espouse we let them know that they will be successful when they make careful and thoughtful choices true to their values.
We can’t continue on as we have, with many of us offering no clear guidelines for right and wrong to our children, and many more untrue to our own words and unrepentant in the damage that we are causing. The direction will remain the same if they continue to see our actions put the lie to our words.To be true to their values, they must have a strong moral compass. The only way that we can impart those values in a lasting and meaningful value is to let those who look up to us see us living our values every day. Then our words of wisdom will fall on eager rather than deaf and disdainful ears. The impetus to reverse the disconnect is still on the adults. Hopefully there are enough left to make a difference.
In order for children to look up to you, you must to earn that place in their lives. Eventually they grow up and get to choose who they listen too. It would be best for all of us if we make ourselves worth listening to.