Life’s Choices are Our Final Exams!
It’s that time of year, again–Final Exam time. Thankfully, I’m on the other side of the exams now, and I actually give them. (Whew!) I teach Composition and Literature classes online and at my local college here in Florida. But as I was preparing for this week, I was thinking about something I learned a long time ago.
About twenty years ago, or so, I lived in military housing and one of the neighbors was angry with me, for not recommending her eighteen-year old daughter as a caregiver to the base’s children. (Drama, I know!) Anyhoo, she wasn’t licensed, and she wasn’t kind to the children she took care of from my multiple observations, so when I was asked about her, I told the person to look for a licensed, base-approved care-giver.
Well, as you can imagine, that did NOT go over well with her family! As a result of my honesty, all the neighbors shunned my family, and since everyone was afraid of this family, they were too afraid to have their children play with my children. (Can you see why I wouldn’t recommend this family to take care of my neighbors’ children??)
To make an extremely long story as short as possible, one day, my new, next-door neighbor wanted to create an environment for reconciliation in the neighborhood, which was very sweet, but she didn’t really know this other family. So, I agreed to meet with them, and give it a shot.
I started praying about the situation and the upcoming meeting the next day, and I heard this deep inside, What are you going to do if she tries to hit you? “Wait. What?” I asked. Again, I heard, What are you going to do if she tries to hit you? “Well, that would never happen. But if it did, I wouldn’t hit her back.”
Now to the moral of the story. The next day, this young woman and her fiancé asked me to take back what I said. I told her that I could not, because of my observations. Her fiancé, then threatened to have me killed for shaming his soon-to-be family, so of course I decided that I needed to leave. But before I made it to the door, I was pinned to the wall by this girl and a fist with an enormous diamond ring on it hit me right between the eyes. (I still have the scar, actually!) And at that moment, I remembered the choice I had made the night before. If she hits me, I will not hit her back. So I ducked when her second blow came toward me, and ran out of the house, and back home!
Such drama. But the point is this. I learned a valuable life-lesson that week. If you make choices before temptations come along, then when life slams their temptations in your face, you’ll have a better chance at making the right decisions when you don’t have much time to think about them.
And I tell my kids this too. If you’re offered or faced with drugs, alcohol, porn, etc. what are you going to do? It’s easy to say I would never do this or that, but you have to CHOOSE before the temptation comes, so you’ll know what to do when you’re hit in the face with it.
Thank you for reading this, and please let me know what you think. And if you love short fiction about the choices we make in life, check out my books in the Culture Shaper Series.