The older I get the more I realize how important my early decision were. Many of the things I’m facing now are connected to those early experiences and early decisions. Let me give you an example.

When I was very young my mother and grandmother brought me to church and I fell in love with God. Although there were many years in my life I was not actively seeking God, I would over and over find myself looking for Him and wanting to go back. I credit that to the deep desire that was planted in me when I was very young.

Thinking about this made me wish I had more constant guidance at a young age. Their wise counsel would have helped shape more of my thinking and helped me avoid many of the mistakes I made. Of course I learned a lot from my mistakes but then I started thinking about the young people of today.

Who’s shaping their decisions?

These thoughts fit in nicely with the topic at church today about guiding young people and investing in future generations. Just before church started, I was telling David about my thoughts on this very topic, and I was questioning how effective some of our correcting styles really are.

For example on the topic of detention, my thoughts were: What is the point in taking an insecure and perhaps problematic child who is most likely exploring rebellion, and putting them in a room to do nothing that really makes sense. Won’t that make them rebel more? If the point of teaching is to introduce more sense, why introduce something senseless?

Here’s another way to think about it: If you stick an already baked dish in the oven it will burn. Likewise, if you stick an angry child in a classroom with nothing to do or some worthless chore and your just teaching them how to waste more time.

On the other hand, what if you asked the child while sitting in detention what they were passionate about and what they planned on doing with their lives after school? Say they wanted to be a singer, why not ask them to research a couple of the singers that inspire them and write their biographys down? That way the teacher is encouraging the child to put their time into their future, and learn more about the lifestyle they potentially could be living. They are teaching them to work towards the things they want, instead of making them feel worthless and not capable of chasing their dreams.

My thoughts on having wanted more guidance, on how we need to improve our ways of engaging young people, and the preaching reinforced in my mind the importance of doing my part in shaping the younger people under my influence, so that they can grow during the their very influential teen years, to become secure, wise, and godly people who can face life’s challenges bravely and win over them.

One lesson we need to teach them is that life’s struggles never actually end and that we need to persevere, learn, practice, and spend to grow continuously. Hopefully, through the people we interact with, the places we visit, and the things we experience, we become wiser, and as we do, we should remember to transfer the lessons learned to others, especially younger others, who could use a more prudent perspective.

It’s not enough to hope that a little of the good in us may rub off on the next generation? Do we really think we can accidentally influence others to be good when many others deliberately try to influence them to go in directions that are not good for them. I’m learning that in this case, it’s the same as in other areas that are important to us, if we really value it, we should pursue it.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
– 2 Timothy 1:7