Restraint – Has It Eluded Us?

Police violence, false social media outrage, wealthy parents buying their kids way into elite colleges, out of control spending, and the ugliness of our polarized political system. These are just a few examples where restraint seems to have eluded us as a society this last week. Oh, and we can’t forget Joe Biden.

In 2017 the once rich and powerful Harvey Weinstein was accused of numerous accounts of sexual criminal behavior. The disgraced mogul has been voted out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the TV Academy, organizations he once dominated. His once powerful company has been ordered by the courts to be taken over. The list of women who have publicly stated he had harassed them is approaching 100.

On the surface it’s easy to judge Weinstein, and I am certainly not defending him in any way, but who really knows what possessed him to do what he did. Arrogance, lust, misogyny, control, pride, and other character defects run amok, to the point that one starts to believe their own lies and deception, and justifies their darkest behavior.

Perhaps, decades ago, Weinstein had an urge to do something sexually inappropriate and restraint eluded him. He crossed a boundary, and then another and another, and until recently got away with it. Somehow the chase for more lust-filled and controlling behavior took him over to the point of apparently, consuming him. The consequences of a life without restraint can be like a tight noose around one’s neck.

Stealing paper supplies from an employer to use at home. Cheating on a test. Sexually harassing someone at a party. These examples are commonplace. Some might say, “Yes, but so what? It happens all the time.”

It’s important that your son understands that most of society today lives by a moral relativistic code, which means that they make up their own rules. You only have to watch or read the news, have a conversation at work or read almost anything on social media and you’ll quickly discover that people feel justified in cheating on a test, stealing from their employer and even crossing sexual behavior barriers.

A frequent rationale is “Well, I didn’t think I’d get caught.” In other words, their belief system is the “behavior is only wrong if I get caught.” This is now, unfortunately, commonplace.

There was a time, generations ago, when our society was held together by Judeo-Christian values. Even those who didn’t believe in God were so surrounded by those who did that there was a “glue” that created a relatively cohesive bond to our society. Laws, rules, codes of conduct, and espoused values were heavily shaped by religious teachings. The glue is gone! And so is restraint, for many.

My faith tradition taught me that, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one a love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” While this teaching is about money, the implications clearly apply to this situation.

Leading a life and teaching your children in a way that is clear about your beliefs is essential. Temptation is and always will be all around us. Being tempted isn’t wrong, but how you respond to the temptation will quickly reveal which master you’ve chosen. A healthy measure of restraint in the right situation will lead you, and your son, to make good choices that can change the direction of your life.

Making these important decisions can demonstrate for your son how real tender lions live life…making wise choices, sometimes difficult choices, but ones that produce integrity, character and fulfillment. Don’t be surprised if you are viewed by some as counter-cultural and somewhat of a dinosaur…and in the end you will have maintained your integrity, and your son will love and respect you for it.

This is an edited excerpt from Tender Lions – Building the Vital Relationship Between Father and Son.Please share this blog with your social media network, or like/follow us at the links on the bottom right of this page.

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