Thursday, 7 November 2013

#R2BC Choices

I have always been aware that I am incredibly blessed to have choices in life.  Sometimes circumstances may limit those choices, sometimes I may not like what I have to choose between, or have any idea what difference my choice will make, but I have choices.  Often those choices are the very foundation of my life.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" we ask our children.   "What do you want to study?" comes later.  As a child the world seemed full of opportunities and choices to make.  I don't think I was aware - nor will I ever be completely - just how significant some of those decisions were.  Of course, I knew my choices about what I would study at school were important - even if I never did become an architect.  I knew that my decision to choose to follow Jesus' teaching and example as a teenager would have a massive impact on my life.  There were smaller decisions as well though that I'm beginning to see as significant - will I be friends with this child or that child; should I use my spare time to study or to pray or to relax or get a Saturday job; shall I have a drink at that New Year's Eve party?  The decision to work as a volunteer for Wycliffe Bible Translators rather than get a job in a Christian Bookshop had consequences that I could never have envisioned at the time.

So many choices.  Such a huge responsibility.  Such a tremendous privilege.

I remember being given a bewildering array of choices when I was pregnant with Mr M.  Some of them I was very clear on - No, I do not want a home birth with four children at home to watch; and others I didn't see the point in - What difference does it make which hospital I'm in since I don't have the expertise to judge between them?  Despite that ambivalence about many of these choices I was still grateful to be given them - even if ultimately some things got taken out of my hands by events.  I was very aware that even when it seemed I was out of choices - Mr M's heart rate kept dropping and the Doctor was talking about a C-Section - I still had the choice to pray.  But that's another story.

This morning we posted the Voting Registration Form for our household.  We must have just missed it last year when we moved in and didn't get round to registering with everything else that was going on in our lives - new home, new school, new baby...  To be honest I don't think these are good enough reasons, but there you have it.

It may be a strange reason to be cheerful for many, but for me it is very significant.  I am so very grateful that I have the right to vote.  Since I first became 'politically aware' when I was about 12 - the Berlin Wall came down, Communism seemed to be on its last breath, Apartheid was ended, we were going to save the environment and save the world - I have been proud of the freedoms we have in this country.  Freedom is all about choice.  Choice is all about responsibility.

Miss A carried the letter to the letter box for me, and I told her to be very careful with it because it was very important.  "Why?" she asked.  "Because it means that Mummy and Daddy can be part of deciding who runs the country," was my reply.  It was a glib answer, really, but still true and that conversation has made me think about what a privilege it is to have a say about what happens in our country.  Often all I hear are complaints about politicians, people disagreeing with decisions that are made.  Often I'm part of it, lamenting the lack of wisdom or integrity that is shown by our leaders - but to be honest I am hesitant to criticise, knowing that I far too often abrogate my responsibility for our country to those very people I complain about.

I have never been a big one for party politics, but I believe passionately that everyone should be engaged in politics on some level - it affects us all.  Apparently, there are three things that you should never talk about at a dinner party (or at Mums & Tots) - money, religion and politics.  I have to confess to frequently breaking these social requirements at almost every social occasion.

We are so blessed to have choice, and if we don't like what those we choose - or those we fail to choose - do, then we need to get involved, not just carp from the sidelines.  This week we also got a request for people to join the PTA at the school.  Of course, like everybody else, I am far too busy - but you know what, I think I might just have to put myself forward this year.

Perhaps it is time to get off the fence.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

17 comments:

  1. Louise Fairweather7 November 2013 at 13:03

    You are right we are lucky to have choices. PTA can suck up a lot of time - you just need to stand firm and only help when you can x

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  2. Freedom to choose sure is a great reason to be cheerful. I joined my school PTA when we emigrated and it was the best thing I could have done, Maybe you should do it!

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  3. our kids have even more choice than we did! lets hope we can guide them well... I am not in current PTA as definitely not enough time...

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  4. What a fantastic, positive outlook on life. I hope that whatever you decide to do, it is the right choice for you xx

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  5. yes choice is a good thing, although when eating out I get overwhelmed with to much choice lol

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  6. Yep, sometimes there is too much choice. When we came back from the Falkland Islands I would stand in supermarket aisles totally overwhelmed by too much choice... And in restaurants I tend to play it safe and order the chicken ;)

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  7. Thank you. I do have a habit of taking on lots of things all at once after periods of inactivity (usually after a baby), but it usually works out okay in the end.

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  8. They do, and I hope I can help them to focus on what they really want. At the moment I do have time - well, more time than I'm used to now that Miss C has started playgroup!

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  9. Thank you. Part of my reason for thinking about joining the PTA is that we only moved here last year and I don't feel I know other people at the school very well because I don't do a school run. Now that Mr M is a bit older and I'm driving, I think I can commit to be involved.

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  10. They were very plaintive at the meeting today - everyone's willing to help but no one will commit.... I can see their point, but I can also see yours - it can be very easy to become overwhelmed with all that needs to be done and get caught up in more than you really have time for.

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  11. Such a positive post and I so agree that we are so lucky to have choices. I think joining the PTA is a great idea xxx

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  12. Louise Fairweather7 November 2013 at 21:05

    I just do the newsletter and even then I have to stop myself saying just let me run it! It's difficult getting a big group of people organised. Definitely a good thing to do though x

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  13. Thank you. I've agreed to be part of the broader committee for PTA, and I might just end up volunteering as secretary... still pondering that one.

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  14. Looking for Blue Sky9 November 2013 at 21:03

    Yes! *punches the air* . I loved this, as someone who keeps getting drawn into politics even though I really don't have time: I feel I cannot complain about how much is wrong if I don't try and make change happen xx

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  15. Thank you! Glad I'm not the only one who gets political!

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  16. You sounds a lot like me Nicola - I break these rules on most occasions too! I joined the PTA and despite being far too busy, really enjoyed it - the chance to put my two penneth in and give something back to the school. Go for it!

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  17. A very good reminder, we are indeed very lucky to live in the UK with the freedom and choice we have. Mich

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