Wisdom is not transferrable

Some time ago I took my family to see a show at a theatre housed in one of the big casino complexes.

The children looked into the gambling area and expressed some interest in curiosity in gambling. Having been involved as an expert witness in some court cases involving gamblers, I proceeded to explain to them how gambling is an iniquitous and futile pursuit, where the odds are fixed in favour of the casino.

To illustrate my point I walked up to a one arm bandit, put in two rand, pulled on the arm and low and behold I won. I went to a second machine and the same thing occurred, and then to a third. I started to feel the desperation of a gamble on a losing streak, only I was winning money but losing my lesson.

In the world today every kind of depravity is able to gain c into the private domain of your home through the electronic media. Drugs are freely available at even the most exclusive private schools, in the clubs and bars your own friends could be plying your children with alcohol or ecstasy. With these ubiquitous realities any half-awake parent would feel that the odds are stacked up against us.

Some parents try to cope by controlling their children, keeping them under surveillance. I often think that anyone who could invent a tracking device that could be placed under the skin would make a fortune from these parents.

On the other hand one does want to make sure that children are safe and equipped to deal with whatever contingencies cross their path.

The experience that I had in the casino however reinforced a point that I often say to parents who come to me for guidance-wisdom is non-transferable. We did not listen to our parents but rather insisted on trying things out and learning our own lessons and our children will do the same. That’s fine I hear you say, but we know what close shaves we had, what if our children are not as lucky? Our naive parents were not aware of what we were doing, we know about the world that our children inhabit. Were our parents that naïve I ask you, and do we really know where our children are and what they are doing?

What can we do then in order to reassure ourselves that we have given our children enough? While you can’t transfer your wisdom, you can  fortify your children by passing on your unconditional love, your acceptance of who they are with all their struggles and uncertainty and their need to push against you in order to establish their independent identities. And pray!

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