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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Unless you become like a little will never be a real adult

Not deciding is deciding. How many times have we heard this. But, we need not to be afraid to decide on something, someone.

"I am going to get rid of any other option and decide on this." The thing which makes us decide is courage.

If you have never made a decision, maybe you lack courage.

This is why going to college, entering a seminary, getting married and being open to life, are major decisions.

If we decide on one thing, if we decide on one thing or one place, or one person for life, we close other doors. But the open door is life.

And, once we make a decision, we must be committed. Commitment is the lost art of our time. Why do people cry at weddings? Because two people have decided on each other, but have closed the door to other alternatives -- people and things and even events are now decided one way and not another.

We want it all, sadly. We do not want to close doors. We are afraid. But, we are smart, we have reason. We can figure things out.

We want to get married, have children, have a career, and be holy. Wait a minute.

We cannot do it all. We cannot have it all successfully,  but we must decide.

How do we decide? We must have courage and we need to trust ourselves. Wow. We need to have confidence in ourselves in making (we do it-we "make") the decision.

Bonhoeffer wrote about this. He called it Costly Grace, as opposed to Cheap Grace.

Costly Grace means that we choose Christ and His Gospel and we choose the life-style which follows. Radical Christianity means we are counter-culture, people of the light in darkness, individuals who are signs of contradiction in the world.

If you make a right decision, if you choose peace as opposed to chaos, you will be that light in the darkness.

OK, love is blind, they say. Why do we not follow the signs of loving the right person. Sociologists call the ability to choose "adaptive intelligence". We go back and review how and why we decided on something. If we have a flaw, or an blockage, we can change, we can grow, we can be healed, in most cases, if not all.

Those of us who are older and have made mistakes in our long lives, either with jobs, careers, colleges, even with spouses, have to have more courage, as we have witnessed failure and need to go on and face other similar decisions.

One does not roll up into a ball and hibernate if one has failed in an area of life. No. We forgive ourselves and move on. We forgive others. We review how and why we erred. As a Catholic, I can state that grace and selflessness indicate a good decision. Peace follows a good decision

As a teacher of at-risk-students, I had to help students succeed who had failed, perhaps even many times. How did I help them get over the fear of failure, a real fear?

Here are some steps, which I employed.

One, I imparted confidence and helped them to have confidence in themselves. I emphasized their gifts, their strengths and not their weaknesses.

Two, I taught them discipline. This meant time management or good study habits. In other words, I gave them the tools for success. Simple tools are the best, and these tools led to discipline.

Three, I encouraged them when they succeeded, but pointed out how they failed, why they failed. Criticism helps people change, but not merely negative thinking, but constructive analysis, and most importantly, how to avoid failure again. Replacing good habits with bad habits could be part of this.

Four, I helped them choose for themselves. A teacher is a leader, a guide, a person who directs, but does not decide for the student. Choices are individual, and a teacher must help people make their own decisions, within the framework of courage, confidence and discipline.

Five, I never, never praised without due reason. Many children have been ruined by parents who say "You are the best girl in the world" without any requirements for praise. Praise is earned and for specific accomplishments. This is how children learn confidence-by doing something well, and the thing itself should give the confidence in and or itself.

I have Montessori training. As a Montessori directress, I barely praised anyone. The children learned confidence by doing. I showed them what and how to do something, they did it well and learned peace, confidence, trust, discipline. Confidence created motivation. Confidence creates independence.

Motivation, that is, self-motivatIon, is the key to learning to become a person. Maria Montessori said that it was the role, the duty of the child as created by God to become, to make, with God, the person that child was going to be. I know this is true.

This creates courage. If we have courage, we can make decisions. But, not to decide is the real failure of life. Decide, live, be not afraid.

Life and love follow. And, if one has failed, pray for God's healing graces. Go to daily Mass, go to Adoration. Learn to have confidence in God Alone, like a little child on her Father's knee.

This is my wish for all, including myself. "Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven." DR Matthew 18:3

I pray to the Child Jesus and to Little Therese, the Greatest Saint of our time to help me and to help you. 

Choose life, always, and you will be saved. You may even be more happy and joyful than you have ever believed true in your life. I challenge you to have courage.

A four-post day....