The other day I heard a grown son and his father argueing. The arguement turned physical and the police were called out to intervene. I remember a discussion I had with that father just moments prior, where we were discussing our "grown" children and his opinion that you can't change who a person is. I wasn't quite sold on his opinion so I offered mine. I believe if you offer choices and explain the consequences/benefits of each choice to a person/child, they will make the right choice more times than not. But then, I have only used this with my soon to be 7 year old and some managers, not my adult child.
I believe every situation has 3 choices to select from 1) do this or 2) do the opposite and 3) find an alternative. For my 6 year old I keep it simple; "its your choice honey. You can choose to 1) not do as I say and you can be in trouble all day and we can mad all day or 2) do what I've asked and we can go on and enjoy the rest of day. Its your choice, you just tell me what you decide to do." This usually gives me the response I want and my pride in my daughter grows as I know she is able to make sound decisions through logic. So I concluded with the Dad that you can change a person by offering them options and the results of those options and then let them choose. Their choice after being informed will determine who that person is, inside.
Of course I like to take this thought process and relate it to dating. If they only reason your significant other is faithful is because they never have the opportunity to be unfaithful, (they never go out without you, check in their every move and are under constant monitoring.) Does that really mean they are faithful or trustworthy? What would happen if they were given a "Hall Pass", as one recent movie put it? That's the true sign.
Now take abortion. I have always thought and believed everyone is entitled to their opinion on this. However, if the only reason a person doesn't have an abortion is because it is illegal, or frowned upon, or God will not forgive them...does that really make them a good person? It is what you would do when given free will with no consequences that really determines who you are.
Most people would lie, steal, cheat, and do many other things - if it weren't for the consequences or if they knew for sure they wouldn't get caught. Does doing whats right only because peopel are watching make you a good person? Not really. Integrity, most people are lacking this I have found.
How about a friend who only keeps your inner most secrets and maintains confidences while you are friends, then as soon as they are angry with you, turns their back on you and tells all? Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if this will happen until it is too late. But it is a lonely existence without a confidant. But this means, they really weren't a friend to begin with.
My mom, gave me some good advice once - "What ever you do, what ever mistake you make. Make sure it is one you can recover from." The problem with this advice is it doesn't mention anything about making choices your conscience will be good with. Guilt and regret are some of the worst heartaches one can experience. So is cheating the man in the mirror.
I am often surprised and disappointed in people over this topic, but I refuse to lower my standards. I guess that means I will have fewer fake friends and people in my life and more quality relationships. Works for me and that everyone is MY CHOICE. Unfortunately, I live a very loney existence because of this choice, but its still my choice. I will try and remember that.