To the editor:
I think the best advice I received from my father when I was a teenager was ?to remember my creator in the days of my youth.? The problem is, I didn?t realize it at the time.
I wasn?t sure what it meant. Teenagers are notoriously self-involved ? the big picture often eludes them ? and this was as true for me as anyone else. I think my father was trying to get me to see that my youth would be short lived but very important, and that my future would be indelibly and permanently influenced by the choices I made in my younger years.
My father was urging me to be careful, ever so careful, as I sought to see the long term implications of the choices I made. Some corollaries to the advice might be: What is truly important to you? What do you want to do with your life? What are the values you want to live by? And, do you believe in God and how might that belief influence your decisions now and in the future?
Children who make bad choices in their youth are actually better prepared to answer these questions if they get caught and face the consequences of their bad choices. Getting caught, facing the consequences; doing some soul-searching, and deciding to avoid bad choices in the future can not only bring you closer to your creator.
It can bring you closer to your parents? teachers, coaches, friends, and neighbors who truly love you, who want you to have a happy life, as free as possible from the consequences of bad choices. They may get mad at you, yell a bit, give you a cold shoulder for awhile. But the true ones will always show they believe in you and be ready to give you a second chance. They give you that second chance because someone gave it to them in their youth. They remember their bad choices too. And they won?t let yours keep them from loving you.
The teenager who steals, cheats, abuses drugs, bullies, lies and deceives for their own benefit and doesn?t get caught is very unlikely to learn the lessons I am talking about. They may even continue to make bad choices, to double down or just keep at it well into their adult years. When it is far more difficult to change and have that soul-searching moment; not impossible by any means but a lot more difficult.
Parents, relatives, and any concerned adult who encourages young people to remember their creator in the days of thy youth are really telling the young person to avoid some of the mistakes they made.
Children learn to respect the people in their lives who love them and care about them but who also hold them accountable, who believe in them but will not let them avoid responsibility for their mistakes.
The adults who don?t make excuses for them but who help them get up when they fall. Sometimes it means the adult has to face some anger from the child who feels betrayed or abandoned. It is worth it. Kids always remember who truly loves them ... eventually. And they will trust them, too.
? Jim Turner, Fairfield