choice – the deciding factor

Feb 7, 2010

The difference between sacrifice and punishment is not the amount of pain involved, but the amount of choice.

Interesting thought, isn’t it?

I just read a wonderful book, Influencer, for February’s colloquium. It is full of powerful ideas about effective motivation, change-making, and turning hearts.

The quote above jumped out at me. I realized I have not sufficiently helped my children to see their choices in this life. I have not taught them to fully understand the concept of agency and their ability to make a choice about their situations. They often view stuff in their lives as a punishment when I wish they would see it as a sacrifice…like washing the dishes for their family when they would rather be reading, changing the baby’s diaper when they would rather be drawing, like waking up early to get packed and on the road for a family camping trip. Many times these things have been viewed as a punishment when they are not at all punishments in my mind. I am not punishing them, life is not punishing them, God is not punishing them…instead they are being presented with an opportunity to serve, to help, to work for a better situation…a clean kitchen, a happy baby, getting to the campsite in time to set up in daylight.

This quote makes me think of struggles people have had – patriots burning their businesses during the Revolution so the British wouldn’t have access to them, pioneers crossing the plains in bitter cold and burying loved ones along the trail, immigrants scraping every penny together to come to America to build a better life, concentration camp prisoners sharing their meager rations with someone in worse shape than themselves, mothers willing to endure months of uncomfortableness, nausea, pain, and exhaustion to grow a baby, the throes of labor, fathers going to work day after day at jobs that don’t bring them joy – and I realize in all of these situations people could choose to view them as punishments, as the cruel servings of life OR they can view them as sacrifices that they are completely willing to choose to reach their goal.

How do I view my life…as a sacrifice or a punishment? How do you view yours?

I am going to continue pondering this statement and try to own my choices more and more and try to teach my children to do the same.

How about you?

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1 Comment

  1. Becky

    Such a good thought. Thanks for giving me something to ponder on all day.