Friday, November 9, 2007

Guiding Principles

Last night I caught my teenage daughter in a lie. She is an incredible girl and an absolute joy to me and her mom. Most children struggle through their teen years, I know I did. Looking back, I am amazed my parents let me live through it. Well, I guess tonight was a bit of a “payback”. ( I can hear my parents laughing now as they read this )
After the initial confrontation was over and I sent her to her room, I decided to write her a letter. I am not very good at putting my thoughts to paper ( as I am sure you have seen ), but I wanted her to have something physical she could look back on. I wanted to post a portion of this letter because I believe I got more out of it than she will.

"….. The second thing I wanted to talk to you about is finding yourself. Who you are, and how your life progresses will be determined by what your priorities are. What is most important to you ______? That is something that you will have to define as you go through life. I will tell you what my guiding Principles are...

1. My belief and relationship with God.
2. The love and protection of my Family
3. My love for the Country that I live in.
4. Trust

5. Honesty ( being true to your word )
6. Character ( doing the right thing, even when no one is watching )
7. Integrity ( Doing what you say… honoring your promises )
8. Living a “Christ-like” life ( serving and loving others )
9. Living by Gods laws ( following the 10 commandments )
10. Striving for excellence in everything I do.

I have done my best to live by these rules and would be willing to die to defend anyone of them! … I haven’t been perfect, but my life has been incredibly blessed because these principles guide me....
I meet people every day that try to short cut these guiding principles. They lie and cheat. Some will make choices that hurt others, just because it makes them feel good or get what they want. Some will do things that are a “short-cut” to happiness or success by stepping on others or compromising their morals or integrity.

Think of two people who take a class, one person cheats and lies all the way through it, the other studies and works hard. At the end of the year they both get the same grade… an A. From the outside, they both look equal.. they both got an A, but underneath, there is a HUGE problem. One will have their life defined by hard work and effort, while the others will be defined by the way they tried to cheat their way through life. I see this every day. That is why I only surround myself with people who live by principle......

..Nowhere on my list is make my daughter unhappy or ...

.... Here is what I want you to know, If our relationship ever gets strained, look at the list above and you will find the principle you are violating. We can fix what you did yesterday, but it will take time. Remember this… “It takes “years” to develop trust, character, and relationships, but only minutes to lose them.

I love you,

Dad "

I know that my daughter will get through this but I felt bad that it took a situation like this to write out my “Guiding Principles” again. The truth is, it had been way too long.
Once we define these principle's, may we strive till our very last breath to live by them.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5: 16

1 comment:

Broom said...

This letter is terrific! You're right about your daughter having something to look back on. My father was a man of integrity and principle, but also concerned (too much at times) about what others thought. (As he got older this diminished greatly!) I wish he had done something like this when he caught me in a "bald faced lie". I felt awful at the time about deceiving my parents, but the principles would have been reinforced multiple times if it had also been in writing. You're a good Dad!!