Have you ever given your child a dollar to spend at a dollar store? It is amazing how much time and thought a child can put into a decision about exactly how to spend that dollar. Yet that same child may be faced with a decision that can have lasting consequences and make it with little or no thought at all.
Good, godly decision making must be taught to kids. Making your children’s’ decisions for them may seem like the best path, but it really isn’t at all. A parent who controls almost every decision a child can make is robbing that child of learning the skills for making a good choice.
Sometimes that learning process also involves learning the consequences of making a not-so-great choice. Unless those consequences have long-term negative effects, sometimes it really is best to allow your child to fail a bit in order to grow.
You can keep those failures to a minimum though, by teaching your child the basic steps for making a good choice:
- When your child has a choice, help him/her practice the steps for making good choices.
- Ask your child to state the question or problem that is creating the choice.
- Have your child list all of the possible choices.
- Have your child cross out any choice that would not make God happy.
- Have your child cross out any ungodly choices he/she missed and explain why that choice would also make God unhappy.
- Tell your child that although all of the choices that are left may be fine with God, there still may be a choice that is better than the others.
- Pray with your child about the choices that are still on the list. Ask God to help your child make the best choice.
- For each choice left on the list, have your child think of all of the good things and all of the bad things that could happen from making that choice.
- Encourage your child to make the best choice, but do not make the choice for him/her.
- If needed, talk with your child about what happened after the choice was put into action.
- Continue practicing these steps with your child until he/she is able to go through the steps quickly if necessary – and without your help.
As with most godly principles and skills, you will have to take some time and effort to teach your kids how to master them. Godly decision making is such a vital skill for living a Christian life, this is one area you can’t afford to let your child figure out alone.