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Your children only do what they are allowed to do. They become what they are allowed to become. The children reflect the parents. As parents, what are you teaching them? We live in a society that has a philosophy of victimization. “It’s not my fault! They did what they wanted to do.”

We teach children to become what they become when we employ a discipline (or lack of) method to shape them as they grown up. In my growing-up years, the law was laid down by dad, and “Brother, you’d better not break that law!” There was accountability. The role my mother played was crucial. She was firm and tender. As a boy going into a young man, her tenderness took more of a shaping route to help me understand things I only thought I understood.

When I was young, I went to college to play football. I did not go to school to learn, except in so far as I needed to play my favorite sport. While in college my interests varied (like a lot of young people), and some of that interest was in the opposite sex. If there was a way for me to spread my wings, I would have traveled that path to do so.

Compared with some of my peers, I was rather tame. Still, I had my head in these worldly activities that were of great interest to me. As it turned out, the worst of my activities was that I dated two girls at one time, one of them a daughter of a preacher. Of those two, I married the better one (she was merciful to me) and 41 years later (married 38) we have two daughters and four grandchildren.

As I was shaped in my earlier days, while on my own in college, it took root.

Here I am 61 years old reflecting on my course and the paths I see many others walk.

Apples do not fall far from the trees upon which they hang. I reflect my parents, and our daughters are a reflection of us. That is not to say that everything I do and did as an accountable adult directly reflects on my parents (deceased), but there is a reflection. Years ago, I heard a preacher say, “You carry three names: you own, you parents, and the Lord’s. Be sure you honor each.”

Regrets are part of life; but many of the regrets we have, how many of them need not to have occurred if only a better decision was made? Can you think of any? I can, and still do think of them every now and again. Why did we make them? There is really only one reason: because we wanted to make them. There are many now who are still paying for those decisions.

The apple does not fall far, let us not be rotten apples.