I liked Pastor Ernie’s preaching on that particular Sunday afternoon. I, however, have forgotten the topic and wasn’t able to fully concentrate on the Word because of a squirming baby boy na itatago natin sa pangalang RAV4. But I caught snippets of his preaching, and they struck home. It was basically about the things we do for God…do we do these things out of fear/obligation and anticipated rewards, or do we do these things because we love God and want Him to be happy? In tackling this, he gave some examples of situations when we choose to be honest or serve God, and asked us our motivation was in doing/not doing things.
Honesty, for example. More often than not, our parents have taught us to be honest because we will be in serious trouble if we got caught telling lies. Diligence, for example. I was taught to be a diligent student so I can get good grades and get ahead of my contemporaries. I used to think that these were the right ways to teach values: tell your kids about its pros and cons.
But I had a change of heart after listening to even snippets of Pastor Ernie’s preaching…the problem with the Pros and Cons doctrine is that often, the expected rewards and repercussions do not happen. In fact, an expected reward of a good deed may become a punishment; an expected repercussion of a bad deed may result into something favorable.
Cheating, for example. We were taught that if we get caught cheating, we will get kicked out of school or that we will have failing marks. But what if we don’t get caught? We can have the best of both worlds: we can afford not to be diligent in our schoolwork and get good grades! Face it, with just a little creativity, one can actually get away with cheating. Same goes for stealing: if you don’t get caught, you’ll be rich! And I don’t really buy the “Lalabas at lalabas din lagi ang katotohanan” (trans: The truth will always come out)crap…until now, we still do not know what really happened to Amelia Earhart, nor do we know 100% who actually masterminded the killing of Ninoy Aquino (if you ask me, I’m more inclined to believe it was Danding Cojuangco and not the Marcoses).
Another example is studying diligently. Again, face it. Being a diligent student is not a guarantee that one will be #1 in his class, as we have to factor in a student’s inherited intelligence. A student made to believe that he will become #1 if he continually strives will feel betrayed and confused if and when he does not. Actually, I believe this is the reason once-diligent-students became lazy…because they no longer believe that diligence in studying equals being on top.
So how should we do it? How do we teach values to our children? I guess we first have to make them love God and put Him on the pedestal. Then let them know that sins hurt God and doing one’s best makes God happy. After all, everyone does not want to hurt the one they love, and everyone always wants to please the one they love.