Recently, I watched a court proceeding online concerning Rachel Canning, a senior honor student at Morris Catholic High School, who was suing her parents. Rachel claimed her parents "constructively abandoned" her, mostly because she would not break up with her boyfriend and follow her parents’ rules.
In the lawsuit, she asked a court to have her parents pay the outstanding tuition for her private high school, pay her living and transportation expenses for the foreseeable future, use money from an existing college fund to pay for at least some of her college education, and pay her legal bills. Also she was asking for $651 weekly to cover her living expenses.
I remember the judge reminding Rachel that she is making a decision now that will affect her and her parents for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, she lost the case.
Decisions made in the moment, while in heated emotions, can reap very negative consequences. Suicide is an extreme example of a person not seeing beyond that moment, beyond that day.
Steve Hartman’s story from March 14 on CBS is an example of a teen seeing beyond today. Mitch McKee, a 15-year-old freshman, wanted to give his dad a special gift—he wanted to win the state championship for his dad. Mitch knew time was not on his side—his dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
It was a wild goal for a freshman to win the state championship in wrestling, but he saw beyond today because of his dad’s terminal illness. "He might not be here next year, so I knew that this was the year to do it," Mitch said. So every morning, he would get up at 6 a.m. to work out and make himself ready to win. And win he did!
Mitch McKee won the Minnesota State championship while his dad looked on. "For him to do it for me, it was very emotional," Steve McKee, Mitch’s dad, said. "All the emotions you could ever have were right there." And all Mitch could do was hug his dad after his win. He wanted his dad’s cancer to be gone for a moment (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/teen-wrestler-sets-sights-on-championship-win-for-dad).
Two teens made decisions out of emotion. Rachel’s decision was about herself, based on her needs today; she could not see beyond today. She did not care who she hurt. Mitch did see beyond today and worked hard to make it happen for his dad.
Look beyond today when making a decision and ask yourself this: would your decision or actions express love, or would it reflect retribution, jealousy or injury to someone else? Romans 13:8-10 tells us how to look beyond today while making our decisions. “Owe no one anything except to love one another. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Keep in mind you will reap what you sow.
Rachel has since moved back home and has dropped the suit against her parents. Hopefully, this is a second chance to do it right.