Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down

It is a great thing to be able to say I have seven Grand Children, 5 girls and 2 boys. They bring great pleasure and fun and tiredness when on “Grand Pa” duties!

Recently, I had three of my Grand Children up for the school holidays and they brought with them their own unique personalities and challenges and we gave them back to their parents after 4 days, sad to see them go but also appreciative of the challenges that parents have today raising their children. No other generation has ever had to face the challenges that the current group of parents have to face. Let me list a couple:

The Internet
If ever there was an invention of man that has the potential for great good and great harm, it is the internet. Through it we have access to the vast array of human knowledge about science, literature, history, music, movies … the list is almost endless. But when we think of our children and the potential risks to them … it is a scary place:

  • Online Bullying
  • Online grooming by pedophiles
  • Access to Pornography
  • Access to Online Gambling
  • Access to Violent videos

These are the obvious risks and there are probably more.

Then there is the risk around values and social influences the various celebrities in the world have on our children:

  • Singers and musicians
  • Movie and TV stars
  • Sports stars

The influence of their lives and words and beliefs and values can often far outweigh those of home and family and parents.

The worst risk out of all of these is that parents are often unaware of what their children are viewing or reading online.

Then we have everyday risk that parents have faced in every generation, their peers.
In the 21st Century, the influence of our children’s peers is deeply influenced by … the internet … celebrities.

But rather than ring our hands at the problems, there is the opportunity for positive influence from within the family, Grand Parents. Now I know for some families (like when I was raising kids) they may not be alive or due to their behaviour and attitudes are just as bad an influence as what the kids are exposed to from the internet, celebrities and their peers. But for a large percentage of families, the Grand Parents offer that “generational influence” that parents often aren’t able to achieve.

So back to my story. When our three grandkids were up for their school holiday adventure they soon collided with Grand Pa’s rules. Which was simplified into “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down” behaviour. When they misbehaved, spoke badly and displayed the wrong attitude, they were challenged with the question: “What do we call that behaviour?” and they self assess themselves and given themselves the “Thumbs Down” on something they have done wrong. When they do something good, Grand Pa is quick to give them the “Thumbs Up”.

Having a well founded set of values in which right and wrong is clear provides a solid foundation for children to grow up as well balanced individuals. My personal Values is based on the Christian model and is worth repeating here:

  • I am made by God in His image.
  • I am called to Love God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength
  • I am called to “Love my neighbour as myself”
  • I am called to live a life of Good Works
  • I am called to work hard to provide for myself and my family
  • God sets the standard for human conduct (which I won’t list in full but can be summarised as):
    • Right attitudes
    • Right actions
    • Right words
  • Our lives need to reflect the “Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23)
    • love
    • joy
    • peace
    • forbearance
    • kindness- goodness
      – faithfulness
      – gentleness
      – self-control
      It’s a pretty good list in both the Christian and secular sense and worthy to be aspired to. Of course the challenge is that we often don’t live up to this standard.

So here is the challenge, just like for my grandkids, is your daily life reflecting the good fruit in this list? Can you give yourself a “Thumbs Up” for your attitude and behaviour?
What will your partner, children, work place give you?

The greatest takeaway message for anyone reading this is your ability to self reflect and answer these questions honestly. And if you are having problems living up to these standards, get help.

A good place for help might be 1800Respect.

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