“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” —Abraham Lincoln
“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.” —J.C. Watts
Throughout life you’re confronted with choices, some that are mundane and don’t require a tremendous amount of contemplation, such as what you’re having for breakfast or which shoe you put on first. However there are other times when you’re faced with a decision where you must weigh your choices based on an assessment of your values and priorities. Not always an easy task, particularly when values clash.
The values and priorities you have instilled that help you determine your choice are based on a synthesis of your familial and ancestral patterns, cultural and societal norms, and a sense of your soul’s purpose. How we make these decisions throughout our life changes, depending on our level of moral development. In early childhood choices are primarily based on a more primal, egocentric point of view, as in how I can benefit or else how I can avoid disapproval. That part shadows us to some degree throughout adulthood, but typically becomes a less prominent way to make these kinds of moral and ethical choices.
As you mature, consideration of the group and social norms is taken into greater consideration. Teenagers in particular begin to see the group as an anchor that provides cues as to how to socialize and develop relationships. The norm for the group, society, or culture becomes something that the individual chooses to participate in or develops their identity in opposition to the perceived norm. It’s all about figuring out the rules and choosing to adopt them, challenge them, or some combination of the two. Egocentricity becomes subjugated to the consensus of the group or to a particular segment of the larger society.
Although some people remain stuck in these earlier phases, everyone can still at times “default” to them, especially when you don’t have a clear set of personal ethics by which to gauge your choices. As you mature, your choices become driven more by an internal set of ethics and morality. Some of these accord with the rules and regulations of the larger society while others may not, but instead are congruent with a person’s values and priorities that have been formed over a lifetime.
In the Children’s Spirit Animal Cards, Eagle spirit addressed these considerations in the admonition, “Do the right thing.” For the younger child, this will most likely mean making choices that meet with parental approval and avoid punishment. As the child matures, familial and group values will likely become more of a gauge by which to make these kinds of decisions. The older the child can also read the guidebook, where the extended message from Eagle encourages the child to think for herself as to what’s right or wrong in any given situation. The magic of these cards is that often this particular card will show up exactly when the child is faced with such a decision.
As Eagle’s message says in the guidebook:
As you’re growing up you will be faced with a lot of choices. Some of these will be fairly easy such as what you want for breakfast or what game you want to play with friends. Other choices will be a little more difficult, such as whether to take that piece of candy from a friend knowing that they had taken it from another person without their knowing it. Or another choice would be when some of the kids at school are teasing one of the new kids, and you don’t feel comfortable joining in the teasing but you feel pressure from your friends that are part of the teasing.
Let’s suppose your father has left a few dollar bills lying out on the kitchen table and he seems to have forgotten it’s there. Would you take them? What would be right thing to do in any of these situations? What’s the most important thing, that you have that piece of candy or refuse it because it was taken without permission? Would it more important to join in with your friends so they wouldn’t tease you or to stand up for the kid who was being teased? Or take the money on the table knowing your father wouldn’t really miss it or tell him that he left it there? I’m sure you would know the right thing to do.
In addition, activities are suggested that can reinforce the ideas generated by the message:
* Think of a time when you were faced with these kinds of choices and made the right choice, then write or draw a story about this time.
* When faced with a tough decision, stop and think about what the important adults would say about what choice to make.
* If you see somebody, even a friend, doing something wrong, especially if it may be harmful to themselves or to others, tell a trusted adult about it.
* Try your best to do the right thing in any situation even if it is scary or others may not like you.
Further, a section in the back of the guidebook not only gives general ideas as to how to help your child work with the cards, but also activities with which they can involve their children to reinforce the message in the card. For Eagle, here are some activities parents can encourage:
*Even if your child is afraid, encourage them to tell the truth and let you know when they see something that is wrong.
* Be clear with your child as to what your priorities are regarding moral and ethical values.
* Have conversations with them about what choices they would make in any situation where the choice is challenging.
*Have a posted list in the house that you create with the child of the top 5 or 10 rules expected of everyone living there.
In a world where so many choices are before us, we can only hope as parents to provide the best guidance possible that will help a child to learn to make these kinds of decisions from a solid internalized foundation of moral principles. For anyone so inclined, you can call on help from your spirit guides, but most especially from Eagle spirit.
“Live never to be ashamed if anything you say or do is published around the world, even if what is said is not true.” —Richard Bach
“If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” —Alan Simpson
About The Author: Dr. Steven Farmer is the author of the several best-selling products including Children’s Spirit Animal Cards, Earth Magic, Animal Spirit Guides, Power Animals, Earth Magic Oracle Cards, Power Animal Oracle Cards, Messages from Your Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards, and Sacred Ceremony. He is a shamanic practitioner, ordained minister, hypnotherapist, former college professor and retired psychotherapist. Steven offers workshops and presentations on a variety of shamanic healing and earth-centered spirituality topics and also offers private shamanic healing and divination sessions. To learn more about his workshops or to contact him, please visit www.EarthMagic.net.