Thursday, January 23, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure

Living a life of faith can be a lot like those "choose your own adventure" children's books. (If you've never
read one, the idea is that every few pages the reader is given a choice of how to continue the adventure: Do you take the train (go to page 174) or the plane (go to page 185)? Each choice delivers a different plot twist and adds or eliminates possible outcomes to the adventure.)

Living by faith is similarly about choosing and adventure. Every few days, or weeks, or months, a choice comes along. Should I volunteer for this project or spend more time with a small child or aging parent? Should I give away part of this bonus or pay down my mortgage? Do I forgive this person or hold a grudge? And, depending on the choice you make your adventure will take on a new twist.

Children hear a lot about making "good choices." This is a healthy conversation to be having but is usually limited to the simple black and white choices: water is good and soda is bad. What should you choose to drink for lunch? The schools, scouts, clubs and PSAs are making a strong case for making good choices. You'll want to model that for your kids too.

Some choices, however, are far more complex and don't have simply good or bad choices. You and your child will sometimes face decisions between good choices: Home-school, private school, or public school? Should I study to be a science teacher or a physician? Should I borrow money for college and finish in four - or pay as I go and take six years to finish my degree? Other choices involve choosing between undesirable outcomes: Do we continue life support or remove the machines? Who will survive, the mother or the child? Do I do the right thing at the probable expense of my job?  These are choices with pros and cons and opportunity costs that will result in much greater adventures than water-or-soda-for-lunch choices. These choices need a more complex decision making process.

This is where you need to add the dimension of "faithful choices" to the discussion. This is where our core beliefs about what is right or wrong, important or unimportant, responsible or irresponsible, and personal versus societal good come into play. This is not a simple flow chart; these are choices flow out of who one is.

To make faithful choices we must function as faithful people. Joyce Ann Mercer talks about the process of becoming a musician being analogous to becoming a person of faith. Becoming a musician  requires daily practice at increasing levels of difficulty. It requires learning the language of music and participating with others in making music. You can't cram for musicianship or faithfulness. You need to practice daily.

The pay-off? Adventures can abound when life is lived from a place of faith. Decisions made in faith will open doors to adventure, your own adventure. Live into it and share your process with your kids. There's no better way to prepare them for their own adventures!

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Thought provoking. Thank you.