Reflections by Dr. Teston
A Fellowship Christian School Blog


Choice and Consequences

Happy New Year, Fellowship Family!

The start of each new year holds such promise. Wherever you were as the clock struck midnight and ushered in 2023, chances are you made a choice. You may have chosen not to make a New Year's resolution or, with great hope and anticipation, determined to make some significant, positive choices this year. It is estimated that humans make an average of 35,000 choices per day. And with choices come consequences. In this final installment of Not On Our Watch: Choices & Consequences, we will consider how to help our children think through their choices and factor in the potential consequences.

When our children were younger and faced a decision, Mike and I would remind them that, while they could make their own choices, they couldn't always determine the consequences of those choices. We realized that we could not force our children to obey, but we could help them weigh their choices and possible consequences. Sometimes there are natural consequences. Sometimes there are unintended consequences that you can neither determine nor control. Most importantly, with our limited knowledge and understanding, we can never predetermine how God (being all wise and sovereign) will respond to our choices. So, when our children face 35,000 decisions a day, how do we help them navigate those well?

First, consider if your child is risk-averse or if they gravitate toward risk. Some children thrive on the adrenaline rush, and some may be considered strong-willed. You can give your children a sense of being in control by providing several valid, viable options. They will feel the authority and power they're seeking when making choices. When children are younger, this may look like: "We will leave the park in five minutes. Your last activity may be on the swing or the slide. Which do you choose?" As teens, it may sound like: "Your curfew is 10:00 pm. You may go to the 6:30 pm movie and be home by 10:00 pm or invite friends to watch a movie and sleepover at our house."

Second, acknowledge that, with our children's limited experience and perspective, they cannot weigh all the consequences. Yes, they can connect that they will get burned if they touch a hot stove. However, they may need your discernment to realize that if a photo of them at a party with alcohol is posted on social media, they may lose their athletic scholarship, college options, or job opportunities. Probing questions are helpful. "Who do you think may be impacted by your choice? What could a positive consequence be? What could a negative consequence be? Could there be a ripple effect to your choice that impacts those not directly involved?" Help your children connect the "if" and "then."

Finally, remember that God has chosen us to shepherd and train the children He's given us. It's our privilege and responsibility to help cultivate their personal relationship with Christ, encourage them to know His Word, and model what it looks like to listen and wait patiently for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We're to consistently remind them that good choices will bring God's blessing while foolish ones will bring His discipline and consequences. Before making any choice, God should be the first one they consult.

Hebrews 12:5b-11

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

When your children inevitably experience the consequences of their choices, remind them that consequences, whether natural, parental, or from God, are part of training and, ultimately, an expression of love. Hebrews 12:5-11 very clearly states that the Lord disciplines the one He loves. How grateful we are that our Heavenly Father loves us enough to discipline us as well.

With the start of 2023, and as we wrap up this final installment of Not on Our Watch, may the freshness of our own commitment to raise a godly generation of Jesus followers be realized for generations to come – that's our grandchildren and their grandchildren!

Thankful to be on this journey together,


Dr. Kathryn M. Teston




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       Dr. Kathryn M. Teston