One of the most important lessons that we all need to learn (and perhaps relearn) in our lives is the simple fact that our decisions have consequences that cannot be undone. It may seem strange even to raise this point but unfortunately, many times we forget that a decision, made in the heat of the moment, can have enormous effects and hurt people profoundly in ways that we never imagined. A decision that is sinful must always be avoided. However, as we reflect upon the transitions of life, we must also acknowledge that the hallmark of a virtuous life is one lived with prudence, making decisions that consider the consequences that they create, even when they are not sinful.
For example, the rise of social media has added a new dimension of challenge when we reflect upon the consequences of our decisions. I remind young people to exercise caution and restraint when they post anything on social media. I advise them that they should never post anything without their parents’ consent. The reason for this is obvious: a decision to post something that you may think funny at 15 years of age will come back to haunt you at 30 years of age, especially when you may applying for a job and the post is put in front of you for an explanation. Every decision online had consequences that can last for a lifetime. For those young people who do not appreciate this basic fact, they, unfortunately, will suffer the consequences of their decisions later in life. As adults, and especially as parents, we must try our best to educate our young people to appreciate the “long view” and make decisions that are prudent, even if unpopular with friends.
As adults, the best way that we can teach our young people is by our example. Let us always reflect on the “long view” of our life and by our prudence and discernment, make decisions whose consequence will bring greater life, not harm it.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos!