My family has been busy this summer. We bought our first dog! He is a boxer mix and is only 4 months old. We wanted to do everything the right way from the beginning so we decided to use a trainer. We have had three sessions and it has been eye opening. We have taught our dog how to sit, stay, where to potty outside, and we are working on teaching our dog how to walk with a gentle leader with positive reinforcement. It is a very interesting process. The trainer said it is all about consistency. If you let the dog deviate even once from the standards and rules we have set, he will continuously break the rules. We must enforce the rules at all times.
This led me to think: does God train us? Through whom are we trained? What is the manual used to indicate the correct behaviors? Is there a consistency that is maintained that helps to condition our moral behavior?
I would say God trains us in a different fashion called natural consequences. Hopefully because we have reason, intellect, and free will we can learn deeper lessons from our mistakes and choose not to make them again. If you are Christian the words of Jesus Christ teach you the most and the motion of the Holy Spirit propels you. The manual used to guide us in the right path is the Scriptures of the Bible and the traditions of the Catholic Church.
The people in our lives train us. Our first “trainers” are our parents. Whether they bring us up in the faith or neglect faith we have been trained about our faith. The examples that are set by our teachers and role models also condition our behavior. Yes, we have the ability to reason, we have intellect, and free will so we are definitely different from dogs. However, we do condition our minds, thoughts, words, and actions by what we expose ourselves to daily. Think about your favorite TV show, music, and books. Do these forms of entertainment coincide with your faith beliefs? Do they influence your moral behavior? They can enhance your morality or water it down.
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We are all trainable, if we are open to learn. Are we open to a new way of life, new behaviors, actions, and attitudes? God gives us the free will to decide if we want to be trained in the ways of the Cross. It is our decision as adults to decide what outside influences we will allow to condition our behaviors. What influences are training you? If they are not acceptable, change them. Remember, God will love you through the training. Be consistent with your values and morals; don’t drop them because the culture thinks they are old-fashioned. Constantly evaluate your beliefs, pray, and ask God for guidance daily to lead you in his way. God will love you through it all.
We are all trainable; just make sure you have the best trainer (God) to lead you.
Copyright 2016 Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp
About the Author
Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp - mom of 4 teens/wife for 20+ years. Lori has been writing at her own website Faith Filled Mom. She writes about the journey of faith we live daily and the ability to recognize God. She is a retreat director at Sacred Heart Academy HS. She just earned her MA in Pastoral Ministry as well as a certification in spiritual direction.