Sunday, July 02, 2006

Plan consequences, don't fear them

"Nothing would be done at all if a man waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault with it."
- Cardinal Newman

Think about it. Is this not exactly the problem that politicians face so often, causing them to back off from taking an initiative they know is the right thing to do?

In Canada, the governing party in parliament for 13 years was considered to be "the party that represents most Canadians." It knew exactly what Canadians wanted, knew exactly what sorts of things it should be doing to make their country and the world a better place.

The party lowered the national debt in magnificent fashion, but did none of the things Canadians considered important. It was voted out of office early in 2006.

The new party in power (in a minority government situation in a multi-party parliament) has undertaken more initiatives in its first few months in power than the previous party did in 13 years. No doubt, it's making mistakes. But it's also trying to fulfill the policies that got it elected. A novel concept in itself.

This maxim applies to our personal lives as well. Many people do nothing about a problem because they are afraid of making a mistake, or afraid of change. They support nothing because they fear being wrong, of offending someone with a different power base.

They postpone doing anything (procrastination is the more realistic word) until their situation becomes so bad that a life changing course of action must be taken.

Although a majority of young couples getting married have little idea of the skills that will keep them together over many years, about half manage to hold it together. It deserves consideration that perhaps some of the parties of the broken marriages might have saved them if they had taken some action before it was too late.

Those who find themselves with addictions would likely benefit in the same way. Sometimes things need to change in life. Nothing changes because the person is afraid to make a major alteration in their lifestyle or habits. They wait until their problem gets bad enough that they turn to some form of addiction (for the "high" not for the addiction itself) to give them temporary relief from the stress. Some have emotional breakdowns.

While it's true that every action has its consequences, we should not be afriad to take any action for fear of being wrong. Schools can teach young people the skills of decision making and the consequences of making the wrong ones without thinking out possible results. The death of a classmate, for example, should not be necessary to make the point about drunk driving.

Let's put real decision making skills in the hands of young people before they need them and before they make mistakes that result in tragedy that hurts themselves and innocent others.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to give young people the tools they need to be confident and competent adults.
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