Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Making Decisions

Sometimes we all make poor decisions. I remember hearing Alabama football coach Bear Bryant after a loss. When asked about the game losing interception his quarterback threw, Bryant commented, “He’s a good boy, he just made a poor decision.”

When I was in 7th grade, Ricky Carson, one of my best friends, asked me to spend the night. His family had just moved into a new house. Of course I said, “yes.” We played pool and listened to music on our 8 tracks – remember? Then we got bored. By the way, there is nothing more dangerous than a bored teenager. Ricky mentioned something new and cool that he had in his bathroom- a fan. Yes, a fan in the ceiling. That was a new thing in the 70’s. Then I saw the pile of smoke bombs in his bedroom. For reasons not known to this day, we decided (actually I decided) to test the fan by lighting a smoke bomb in the bathroom. Surely the fan would suck all the smoke right out of the bathroom. Disaster. The fan did it's best but the entire house filled with smoke. His mom hurried up the stairs and was furious. To this day, it is in the top 10 list of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. Dumb.

Teenagers sometimes make poor decisions too. It’s all a part of being an adolescent, learning to factor in the right variables to make wise, mature decisions. But it’s trial and error. When your teen gets that traffic ticket or fails that assignment he forgot to do at school, we as parents, are frustrated. But it’s important that parents take a deep breath and pray before the post-smoke bomb conversation. More times than not, no additional guilt is needed. Though they may not show it, most teens don't like making mistakes either. Other times they need our strong discipline: being grounded or taking the car keys away produces the healthy guilt they need to move on and avoid future mistakes.

Mostly, what teens need from parents is to simply be there for them. Sure, we get frustrated because often parents pay the price (literally) for the mistakes too. They need our correction, but mostly they need our encouragement.

Point out a better choice in their decision-making next time, then drop it. Life is all about learning from our mistakes. Let God use you in your teen’s life to learn and grow.

Remember, the smoke will eventually clear from the mistake and a wiser, more confident teen will emerge.©

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