December 21, 2017
One of the principles I stress as a teacher and parent is personal responsibility.
For me, this means trying to teach that each action, each choice, has either positive or negative consequences. I also try to teach the importance of following our moral principles when making even the smallest of decisions because even small decisions direct our lives.
When we read fiction (or play strategy board games, watch movies, play role-play story-line video games, etc) it is easier to see the “big picture” of each small decision (when reading or watching a movie, I often yell at the characters when they make a stupid decision and I know it will cause problems – this entertains my children). I love games like chess, cathedral, Settlers of Catan, and Risk because they teach us to look ahead, plan our strategy, and make small decisions (moves, location of settlements, or deployment of men) to affect the goal (winning the game).
In real life, whatever our age, we often miss the “bigger importance” of an event as we live it. It is only through reflection (as in the Bible, Mary “ponders in her heart”) that we see our experience in its proper place in the tapestry of our lives. We sometimes catch a glimpse of the awesome scope of a seemingly simple event in retrospect (a large purchase decision, joining a sport, a move, competing in an event, a new job). Occasionally, we realize our decision is massive at the time (picking out a pet, choosing a spouse, deciding to start a family).
As young people, we seldom see our “small” choices as momentous. We don’t often see our choice of high school classes, friends, or activities to be important. In truth, classes generally pique interests, aim career paths, and influence our college choices. Friends shape our personality! Activities often lead us to long term relationships, future business and personal connections, and help shape our character.
When I write stories, I try to hint at the importance of personal decisions. In Pirate Child, one simple decision by Darren (his decision to treat his “charge” as he would his younger brother) affects Ethan’s entire life. In Web of Deception, Chloe’s decision to aid and follow Jordan leads to her discovery of her destiny. In Story From the Inn, Rachel’s choice to help instead of complain (although, it wouldn’t have been in her culture or personality to complain) leads her to being present at a baby’s birth.
Small choices shape our lives. Sometimes, they help shape the lives of others. Choose wisely.
Thanks for reading!
Type at you next time…