President Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” This statement epitomizes the importance of the character trait of decisiveness, the ability to recognize key factors and finalize difficult decisions. Yet, many people become paralyzed when called upon to make a decision, agonizing for so long that by the time they’ve made up their mind, their options have evaporated.
When choosing our actions, if we use the basic character traits of honesty and kindness for the framework of our decisions, we can be comfortable with acting decisively.
Badgers are tenacious creatures. When faced with conflict, they are quick to decide whether they will stand their ground or retreat. Once the decision is made to fight, the badger will wholeheartedly defend its position. The North American badger prefers to live in dry, open grasslands and pastures. They dig burrows in pursuit of prey and also as sleeping quarters. Badgers are solitary animals that vary in weight from eight to 24 pounds.
Helping children learn to make their own decisions is the best insurance against peer pressure. This month, as you observe your children interacting with others, ask about the decisions they made. For instance: What made you decide to play that game today? Praise children for making independent decisions instead of following the crowd.
While you’re taking a break from outside activities, why not play a game of checkers? Each move is an exercise in decisiveness and once you’ve moved your finger from the flat disk, there’s no looking back. What’s more, a game of checkers is a great way to unplug and reconnect with each other, one on one—no electronics required.
Each time you come to a crossroads on your next visit to the zoo, let your child decide which way to go. Urge her to choose simply right or left rather than planning for a particular destination—too often, we focus so much on the end goal (seeing the giraffes, for instance) that we completely miss things along the way (like lion cubs). By taking a different route, you may discover something new. Either way, you’ll have fun getting there.
Read About Decisiveness
School is still a month away, but there’s no need to wait, decide now to read Teacher Appreciation Day by Lynn Plourde. This easy reader explores the pitfalls of indecision in a humorous tone with playful illustrations and concepts easily grasped by elementary school students. For adults who want to further explore decision making, check out Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. His journalistic approach to this complex topic makes this a thought-provoking and interesting book, full of compelling examples of how people in all walks of life make decisions.
Gayleen Rabakukk is a freelance writer who spends her time in Edmond keeping up with her teenage and preschool daughters.