The Mark of a True Leader.
We’ve learned about teaching boys discipline, vision, and wisdom. These are all foundation stones for the next facet of leadership—decision.
“When all the facts are in, swift and clear decision is the mark of a true leader.” J. Oswald Sanders
Despite the consequences, the will of the crowd, the objections of those with less information or understanding, the leader stands for the harder right, not the easier wrong. We see this in many of the great leaders in the Bible and in world leaders. But how can your boy become more decisive?
Rely on the Foundation.
Boys make decisions based on the foundations others lay in their hearts and minds. Which foundation provides the best action at the best time?
We’ve been talking about a foundation built on discipline, vision, and wisdom. The ultimate foundation is the triune God—the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And part of your child’s foundation includes your example, how you display your faith and foundation in your own life. If you don’t use your faith to make decisions, the kids won’t either. What better reason to use the Talk, Read, Listen, and Analyze (TRLA) method? It gives you the power to create faith-based leadership in your children.
Two Types of Foundations and Their Results.
What are two possible types of foundations in a person’s life?
Earthly. This foundation bases its governing principles on science alone, without spiritual insight or acceptance of a higher power, and limits itself to observable phenomenon. This type of knowledge is impersonal and treats humans as bio-objects that can be manipulated and changed with little or no consequence. The result is a society confused about social structures like marriage, sexual identity, and correct behavior. It focuses people on getting what they can before their life on earth ends. Earthly ethics base decisions on situational outcomes, not ultimate absolutes of good or bad. Love of power, money, control, and sexual appetites becomes the root of wrong actions towards people. Decisions based on this foundation fall far short of the best decisions possible.
Spiritual. This foundation bases its governing principles on an unknowable greater source of wisdom, power, and understanding. Religions formalize these thoughts about supreme beings and how we must behave towards them and other people. Christianity teaches us that people are valuable beings whom God loves and whom Jesus died for to bring us back into the His (God’s) family. Christianity provides the incredible basic awareness of a Being so much higher than us that His thoughts, wisdom, vision, and love are enough to guide us in every act we do. This is where we get the correct understanding for making our decisions.
What If ?
How can I teach my child to not play the “What If?” game?
Creative children look at the facts for a decision and then go through many scenarios, some pretty outlandish to us, before they make a decision. This is normal, but as parents, we need to help them focus on the basic necessary facts. What do they need to know to make a solid decision that is focused on a spiritually sound result? Have them make a decision table.
The Decision Table.
Take out a scrap of paper. Divide the paper into two columns. Label the first column Plus, and the second column Minus. Write the decision the child thinks is correct on the top of the paper, then list the pluses and minuses for that decision. Use easy problems first, then move into more complex ones as your child grows.
If Johnny wants Mom and Dad to buy him a cell phone on his tenth birthday, then talk through different parts of that decision. The answers to the questions go into the plus or minus column.
Here are some sample questions: Who will pay for the phone and the service? Is it within Mom and Dad’s budget? Is it necessary? What will the phone be used for? Will there be restrictions on its use? What happens if the phone breaks? Why does your child want the phone?
Using this process eliminates many doubts in your child’s mind (and yours), making the right decision easier to see. A decision table eliminates second-guessing after you’ve made the choice. Second-guessing could spoil the enjoyment, cause division and fighting, or take up valuable time that can be used in the next decision. And a decision table gives you and your child a way to reason through a decision together.
Have your boy make a timely decision. Delaying is a decision in itself, reducing options and kill the effectiveness of a decision. Sometimes you lose the opportunity the Lord opens to you for a brief time. Therefore, teach your child to gather as much information as possible before the decision must be made, then decide and move forward.
How do I teach the next essential quality of courage?