On his way home from college, my son was talking about his year. He mentioned that on his way out one day, his friends bid him farewell by saying, “Make good decisions.” I love that they use that phrase to say, “Have fun but think about what you do.” He said that they say it to each other often and it has become such a part of his vernacular that he will say, “Make good decisions” before I leave for work in the morning. It is so much more meaningful than a perfunctory “Have a good day.” I cannot always control how good a day I will have because there are so many outside influences that can impact my mood. I can, however, control the amount of thought that I put into my decisions. I can make every attempt to choose the right path, to be helpful rather than hurtful, to think before I speak and to lead a good life. What would this world be like if we all parted each other's company by saying, “Make good decisions today”?
As both a school director and a parent, I have often thought that every classroom and every home should have a poster with the quote, “First do no harm.” I would like to add another that says “Make good decisions.” Those posters would apply to both the students and the teachers, to the children and their parents. While I’m sure that children and adults don’t enter a room intending to harm someone, we can easily forget that our every word, tone and gesture impacts everyone around us. When we treat each other with respect, both young and old, respect is given to us in return. Adults know when someone doesn’t like them and it is an uncomfortable feeling. Children are no different. They know when their peers are not being nice and they know when adults expect them to misbehave or fail. When we make the conscious decision to take a breath and consider our interactions and reactions, we change our entire environment. We can decide to embrace the good in everyone and provide guidance when needed. We can decide to do for others both through our actions and our words.
Imagine a world where our youngest children are taken to preschool and we say to them, “I love you. Make good decisions. Help a friend today” or “Make good decisions. Try to share and be kind.” Our children can grow up knowing that they have control over their actions and they should give them thought. They can know that a meaningful life consists of both “Have fun” and “Make the decision to be kind.” As they grow, that phrase can go from making the decision to share a toy to making the decision to reject the opportunity to bully. Children who have grown up with the reminder to make good decisions might think more about their responsibility to this world as teens and adults.
Join with me in a quest to change our parting words to “Make good decisions.” Share this article with parents, teachers, grandparents, coaches and anyone who bids your children farewell. Tell them that instead of saying, “Have a good evening,” they should use that moment to say, “Make good decisions.” They are 3 very powerful words. __________________________________________________________________________________
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Copyright 2013 © Cindy Terebush
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