Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Garbage In – Garbage Out!

To say that I am grateful to have learned how to operate a computer is a vast understatement! I am ecstatic!

I will never forget a day in 1995, about a week after Windows 95 went on sale, my eldest daughter, walked into my house with a brand new computer. She’d had it built for me. According to her, she was going to liberate me from my dinosaur Word Processor (which I thought was pretty cool) and bring me into the 20th Century. It was hilarious.

After setting up all of the equipment, which consumed the major portion of my desk (monitors were huge back then), because she had a printer also, she proceeded to sit me down and show me how to pull up the card game, Solitaire. 

“I don’t play cards”, I protested.

“Please mother, just sit here and do this for me. It’s part of your training,” she retorted. “It will be fine.”

“I don’t know if I like this kind of training”, I grumbled behind her back. “What will playing this ridiculous game train me to do?”

Like a disgruntled child, who has received one of the latest toys, but does not understand the magnitude of what has just happened, I reluctantly sat there for the next hour, playing Solitaire, and mastering the use of the mouse. Duh!  

That was the beginning of a very in-depth, hands-on training session, which has been ongoing over the last 21 years. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become a more cooperative student, in my humble opinion. She might have a different view of things. However, one of the most important lessons that she was careful to teach me was this: 

“Be very observant of how you input information, because this machine is designed to only reproduce for you what you’ve originally put into it. Therefore, remember, ‘garbage in = garbage out’. So always think about the finished product, throughout production.”

Well, my daughter has always been an old soul. I talk about her more fully in my latest book, The Joy of Motherhood -  However, her advice that day, or shortly after I learned to use the computer, brings me to today’s little life lesson.

My heart is burdened when I see parents allowing their children various types of liberties, with little or no responsibilities associated with those liberties. I am disturbed when I see parents ask very young children (2-4 years old) vital questions like: what do you want to eat? What outfit do you want to put on? What shall we watch on television? Etc.  I hardly believe that a child that young would understand the nutritional value associated with anything to eat, and therefore is subject to ask for ice cream or donuts for dinner! Nor would a child that young understand the impact of not dressing correctly for the proper season, thus running the risk of wearing sandals in the fall or boots in dead of summer; additionally, if a child is less than 8-10, he/she is incapable of discerning the differences of make believe and reality. This is why God gave children, adults to raise them. They do not possess the cognitive ability to make sound decisions relative to the issues I’ve addressed. However, too many parents are young and inexperienced themselves and ill-equipped to be responsible for another life. It is becoming more and more of a vicious cycle. No one has taught them "to keep their eyes on the finished product": a child who will become an adult.

Consequently, countless children are left to raise themselves, making poor choices out of sheer ignorance, which results in the input of “intellectual, social and spiritual garbage”, which is reflected in poor grades, inattention at school, inappropriate behavior, poor manners, disrespect for adults and/or any authority, and the list goes on.  A child or even an adult can only reflect what has been input into their psyche, at any level.

However, all is not lost! God assures us that "He is able to save to the uttermost, all who will come to Him..." (Hebrews 7:25

He also offers us the invitation to seek “wisdom” from Him and He will give it to us (James 1:5). Therefore, none need to despair. Let each of us strive to place our eyes on the finished product that God has assured that we may become, and what will come out, will be reflective of Him.

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