Greetings, Gentle Reader,

As a man discussed the problem of teens being more inclined to take advice from their friends than from their parents, he said they must be taught to be "source critical."

As I thought of this, I realized that a member of our family had done precisely that. He had trusted his friends advice more than that of his parents, and the cost was incalculable. His friends had told him his parents didn’t know what they were talking about, when they warned him of the dangers of using drugs. But his parents had been right, and acting on his friends advice cost him decades of extreme drug addiction, a stretch of time in a penitentiary, his family and his health.

To use the words of the speaker, he had definitely not been source critical, when he had chosen to accept advice from his friends, rather than his parents.

The speaker also addressed the ripple effect of accepting advice, whether bad or good. As I think of our children who followed our advice, they have made happy, fulfilling lives for themselves. They have become a positive force in this world, and a tremendous blessing to themselves and the families they have created. The ripple effect has been a reward to all involved.

As I look at famous people, some in Hollywood, some in real life, I realize the ripple effect caused by their behavior goes on and on. If they behave in a destructive manner, the damage continues down through the generations. Their children are more self-destructive than they are, and it gets worse with each generation.

If they are solid citizens, living in a responsible manner, their families tend to be the same. Not all of them, but many.

One cannot help thinking their children developed positively by being "source critical" as they sought advice. As they grew and developed, they made sure their freedom to choose the behavior that suited them did not lead them into self-destructive paths, by being careful when choosing their advisors.

For many young people in this modern day, the power of self-determination is a burden their lack of mature wisdom cannot handle. They lunge from one self-destructive behavior to another, and the ripple effect almost guarantees the next generation will do the same.

We parents and grandparents hurt when our offspring hurt themselves and others, but the only power we truly have is the power of persuasion. If it were not for that and the power of our love, we would have no way to stand between our loved ones and potential self-destruction. Fortunately for us, with most of our offspring, we are the source to which they turn for wisdom, especially if we have been successful in teaching them to be source critical when seeking that wisdom.

Until next time,
Muriel Sluyter

Return to the Neighborhood.


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2 comments:

    Cindy Beck said...

    Muriel,
    Excellent article! Critical thinking skills are so important to making correct life decisions. And one important aspect of those skills is to be source critical.

  1. ... on November 17, 2008 at 9:30 PM  
  2. Tristi Pinkston said...

    This reminds me of the importance of not believing everything you hear. Some years ago, a tabloid spread the story that Christ had appeared to the troops serving in the Desert Storm war. A man my mother was dating got a copy of that newspaper and started telling everyone he knew about it. He wanted something to believe in, but he was putting his faith in a tabloid instead of clinging to our modern, living prophet. It reminds me that we should be taking counsel from our leaders, not from the media.

  3. ... on November 18, 2008 at 11:50 PM