Friday, March 5, 2010


It is a rare father or mother indeed who travels the difficult path of parenting without making errors along the way, especially at these first-time milestones when experience and understanding are somewhat lacking. Even after the parent has gained experience, the second-time and third-time occurences of these milestone are sometimes not much easier to handle, nor do they come with much less chance of error.

What more challenging responsibility is there than working effectively with young people? Numerous variables determine the caracter and the personality of a child. It is probably true that parents are, in many or perhaps most cases, the greatest influence in shaping the life of a child, but sometimes other influences are also very significant. No one knows the degree to which heredity influences lives, but certaintly brothers and sisters, friends and teachers, neighbors and Scoutmasters have significant effects.

We know, too, that the influences on a child are not restricted to heredity or to people; certaintly, things in the physical surroundings wall have their effect -such as the house and the playthings, the yard and the neighborhood. Playgrounds and basketballs, dresses and cars- or the lack of these, all have their influence on the child.

One must conclude that -with the multitude of influences and the innumerable decisions, each with so many alternatives to consider and evaluate- even though parents strive to choose wisely, an unwise choice will sometimes be made. It is almost impossible always to say and do the right thing at every point along the way. I think we would agree that as parents we have made mistakes that have had a negative effect on the attitude of the child or on the child's progress. On the other hand, parents usually do the right thing or make the right decision under the circumstances, yet sons and daughters often have negative responses to right or correct decisions.

If a parent has made what could be considered an error -or, on the other hand, has never made a mistake, but still the lamb has wandered from the fold- in either case there are several thoughts I would like to share with you.