The weight of having to “do good” begins at an early age. Our behaviors in what we determine as “bad” or “good” should develop with time. Nobody has to teach a baby to be selfish. Everything is theirs until its out of sight. Toddlers will eat all the chocolate until itit gone and nobody teaches a child to make a mess with whatever is within reach. We are told as children to behave. We spend our time making mistake after mistake and being corrected, or not, by those around us. This trial and error phase can last as long as we determine. If we are stubborn in our own selfishness we can go on behaving selfishly well into our adult years. Most learn the social norms, curb destructive impulses and act within reason. Some do not and go on until they are forcibly corrected and enter society’s correctional system.
Even the term “good” has changed and now like everything else. It has become relative. Nobody thinks morals are black and white anymore. Those who are trying to do good in the world are sometimes viewed as battered and worn, reaping little in the sense of material success. But there is hope. We have been prepared for good works by our creator. If we acknowledge Him, He will guide us and give us the perspective to keep focused and to keep up our spirits so we won’t grow weary by the standards of the world. It also gives parents the grace and capacity to engage their children, provide them with those critical opportunities to grow and fail in a loving environment.
Not having a guide in our lives during those early years in our lives makes the future a real challenge. Our parents have the best chance at an early influence. Children model their early lives after the actions and mannerisms of their parents until they begin to develop a personality of their own as a teenager. They crave individuality and often will choose to act out in the exact opposite way of their parents that they once tried to emulate. The other big variable is their interaction with their surroundings. The influence of friends and school mates provides another medium for the children to discover the effects of their behavior. Children need to make mistakes, see the consequences, good and bad. They have that time with their parents to safely make the little mistakes in a safe environment before they make those same mistakes as an adult which can lead to a life of depression and lost opportunities. Any lack of those opportunities seriously hinders a child’s development.
Nobody can argue that hands-off parenting harms a child’s development. It is so sad to see parents who are so focused on their own success they fail to realize what they are doing to the detriment of their children. Without providing a role model for them, the children will find one through whatever means possible. More often than not this is through their access to television or the internet. When we live in a society which craves more and more “realism” in its shows and games, we open the door to desensitizing our children to the “real world” without any explanation of those consequences. We saw it with children jumping off the roof wearing a cape like superman and we see it in our mass shootings of today as children turn to violence to solve their problems.
The opposite is also true. Those parents which seek to smother their children and “guide” their every move, opportunity and “protect” them from the consequences of their actions are equally as destructive in the development of their children. They actually don’t develop anything, they stagnate and turn out physically mature, but lack all the decision making abilities, drive, and creativity of a mature adult.
Some of life is beyond our control. We live in a largely selfish society which glorifies wealth and fame over hard work, community, and helping those in need. Preparing our children the best we can before sending them out into the world is all we can do.
We pray that thet next generation learns and builds upon what their taught to realize their true potential, contributing to building a lasting and positive legacy without tearing society further apart in selfishness and greed.