Letter to the Editor: Good people, bad decisions
My 10 years in law enforcement has taught me many things. A question I get from time to time is this: What is the biggest factor in why people are involved in criminal behavior? It’s a simple answer: making bad decisions. Learning to make good decisions requires hard work by many people in the process of growing up. Unfortunately, I really believe that some of today’s children and young adults are not properly equipped to make good decisions. Many of my investigations have led to extensive contact with parents. I have found that in many of these cases, the children are just following in the footsteps of their parents. I believe there are two core principles involved in making good decisions: personal responsibility and honesty.
Without fail, we must teach our children to take personal responsibility for their actions. You would not believe how often I find that children and young adults blame everyone but themselves for their bad decisions. We must teach our children that every word and every action has consequences (for good and bad)… and they are fully responsible for them. The blame game needs to stop. And the best way to teach this to our children is to live it out in our own lives. We must own up to our mistakes when we blow it, and humbly accept praise when we get it right.
We must teach our children to be honest. This is directly related to my first point. The first step in accepting personal responsibility is by telling the truth. Honesty and integrity still matter in this world. When we make mistakes, we must accept responsibility for them by first being honest with ourselves and others. The truth still has consequences, but the consequences of lying are usually much worse.
One more thing: it is good when your kids know that mom and dad love each other. Hold hands and kiss sometimes. Get a babysitter and take your spouse out on regular dates. Tell your spouse you love them and cherish them all the time. Do it in front of your kids. They may say “gross” or “stop mom and dad”… but deep down inside, your children want and need to see that. It makes them feel safe. It helps them to sleep at night. It gives them peace knowing that your house is full of love.