October 17, 2010

Deciding: More than a Moment

In many cases, making a decision is easy. But the discipline and endurance to actually follow through with what we’ve decided is a different story.

Think about it. I can make some very big decisions as I drift off to sleep tonight: tomorrow I will eat in a healthy way…I will consistently and lovingly shepherd my children…I will do my best on the job…and I will be kind and considerate to my husband, my neighbor, my co-worker. I just will. And the kids in our lives think the same way: they will be patient with a sibling tomorrow…they will do better in math…they will refuse to join in when the class bully picks a new target.

But what happens when the alarms blare in our ears?

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It’s a cliché, but it’s true. If I make a decision, but do not develop a strategy for getting from Point A to Point B, I won’t move. I’ll start a new day on autopilot, forgetting my big decisions…until I realize, one by one, that my actions aren’t measuring up to my hopes. Then my “decisions” will seem empty and meaningless, and I will feel defeated.

On the other hand, if I make a specific plan of action – and if I practice perseverance – I stand a much greater chance of making progress each day. As a result, I’ll walk daily down the path toward my goal, and I’ll gain confidence. In turn, that confidence will breed motivation to continue on to the end. I will surely run into detours along the way. But, with my goal in sight and the path laid out, I can get on track again and keep moving. Then my decision will feel and be real, and I’ll gain victory.

This is a lesson the children in our lives desperately need to learn – through explicit instruction and by seeing it modeled in our lives. Our kids are inundated with messages touting instant gratification. Thus, they can come to believe that deciding to do something is all they need – that it will happen immediately because they want it to. However, nothing could be further from the truth, and we do them a grave disservice if we fail to give them the tools they need to make their decisions stick.

Photo Credit: Batikart 


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