It does not matter where the ideas come from, and it doesn’t matter whether they are right or wrong, once an idea is in your head, it will rule your world.
Only a few months ago I gave a keynote address to 3,000 people at a regional parenting conference. In the talk I had mentioned the difficulties parents face with Drug abuse by their children. During the question and answer period following my talk a clergyman stood up in front of and offered, “I think we need to decriminalize drugs because drug use is a victimless crime.
” He was offering this as a counter point to my comments in my address about how damaging drugs are to American youth.
My first reaction to this man’s comment was sheer astonishment. I could not believe that Clergyman was willing to stand in front of all of these people and say that. Then I realized that he had an idea that was ruling his world. Not only did I disagree with him, but I also have a very different idea that rules my world.
I replied, “I disagree! I do not believe that drug use is a victimless crime!
In my 29 years of teaching 46 kids who sat in my classroom are now dead.”
And then continuing to address the fellow, I said, “Now, sir, please listen carefully to how those 46 young people died. Three of them died of causes that might not have been preventable. One boy died of a disease; one girl died when an airbag in a car exploded unexpectedly in her face during a slow moving accident in a shopping mall parking lot; and the third died in a private airplane crash while flying with his father.
But, sir, hold onto your seat and ask yourself if you still can consider drug use as a victimless crime when I tell you that the other 43 kids were either stoned, high, or drunk at the time that they died!
Those kids were all victims of drug use! And that figure is just the tip of the iceberg. Every member of those kids’ families, their friends, their teachers, their coaches, their pastors, and the other people who loved them were hurt by their drug use and were all victims, too!”
That clergyman had an idea that was ruling his world: He was willing to stake his personal reputation in front of 3,000 people on the idea that illicit drug use is victimless!
That idea was ruling his world! It did not matter to him what I had just said.
The idea in his head was so powerful that he did not even listen to what I had said, rather, choosing to form a smart retort. I don’t know where his idea came from and I am pretty sure his idea is wrong, but nonetheless it is ruling his world.
Ideas are powerful.
Even wrong ideas are powerful. In the hands of an overzealous person a wrong idea can overpower a right idea.
As parents it is our job to help children to load their heads with strong ideas to use in making all of those decisions they are going to make. We must find ways to communicate those ideas in a manner that our children can use them.
One of the keys in communicating ideas to children lies in listening carefully to them. Lectures seldom pass on ideas to others. Two way communication is the best way to share ideas with kids.
Allow children to challenge your ideas without becoming argumentative.
Good ideas are the vaccination against bad decisions. Vaccinate your children with your values and ethical thoughts.
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