Thursday, October 30, 2008

Positive choices

When I took a class on interpersonal relationships (more years ago than I care to admit) the instructor stated that we always have a choice. Regardless of the situation or circumstance, there is absolutely, positively, undeniably a choice. I was among those in the class that said, "Not always - sometimes your back is against the wall, there are times ...." The teacher shook his head in opposition. "You may not like your choices, but they are always there."

After digesting his statement I realized he was right and even better, his statement is liberating. We are never stuck with one option. Even if someone has a gun to your head, you have a choice - do as you are told or don't. Ultimately you have the power of making the decision and accepting the consequences of your choice.

Taking choices a step further, you can opt to turn negatives into positives based on the choices you create for yourself, as proven by one woman's political statement. Shannon Bennett of Texas was tired of having the Obama political signs stolen from her yard. She had choices - she could have stopped putting out signs, she could have staked out the thieves, she could have whined to her local authorities. Instead, she made a better wheel - she bought 12 cans of spray paint and turned her front yard into one huge Obama sign! Innovative, positive and she's a great role model for thinking outside the box.

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Shawn Turschak was fed up with his McCain/Palin signs disappearing. Being an electrical engineer, he decided to send a shocking message to would-be criminals. Unfortunately, his first victim was a 9-year-old boy. Of course dad says the kid was just examining the sign. The child was also trespassing and should have been taught, like I was, if it's not yours, don't touch it! The police got involved, no one got in trouble.

Was the Chapel Hill Shocker wrong? No, just predictable. He took the easy choice and was vindictive in his quest to assault burglars. The kid probably deserved a pop on the hand but got a zap instead and there's always the danger of shocking the wrong person, sending them into deathly arrhythmia. I shudder to think about the potential for barbecued squirrels on this guy's lawn. Depending on the neighborhood, he could have ended up with a crowd for dinner. Heaven forbid the UNC Ram graze in his yard - Muttonchops anyone? He might end up with a bunch of Dookie(s) in his yard - GO BLUE DEVILS! But I digress ... The point is, Mr. Turschak was on a negative path that led to a positive charge. (Did you honestly expect me to avoid that electrifying pun?)

Realizing we have choices can make the world more enjoyable for us; creating positive choices can make us better for the world. A word of warning kids: There's still a lot of positively negative people out there - baaaaack awaaaay from the signs!


  1. This is a great article in substance, and well written. Clear. The message of always having options fits perfectly in the mantra of The Institute for Applied Common Sense. Should you have an interest in generating an article to be posted on our blog, just check out Post No. 34 re Guest Authors, and let us know.

  2. I completely agree with always having a choice and in my life I have never felt as though I haven't had one. I have made some poor decisions, but take full responsible, even though some would disagree. Unfortunately, I am on the line of what would be the positive and negatiove choice. I would have made my lawn into one big sign, being artistic and all, but I also would have put up signs that were electrically induced. I think alot of us are on the line and really want to do the "right" thing, but the "right" thing is always up for debate and individual interpretation. Great Article.

  3. The article has substance but the problem is that the blog's design hurt my eyes.

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  4. Great comments - thanks for stopping by! As for the design - I'll take it into serious consideration. I learned that many people find white on black easier to read but I will look into the stats and such. I want folks to enjoy while reading, not just what they're reading!