by: Harvey S. Keh
The Manila Times
WHEN I was still young, I remember watching a Pepsi commercial saying that “we seal our fate with the choices we make.” If there is one very important skill that you have to learn early on in life it is the ability to be able to make sound and wise decisions. This is a life skill that we not only need in our personal lives but also in our professional careers. Oftentimes, the thin line between success and failure becomes dependent on the kind of decisions that we make. I have a friend who lost his entire livelihood just because he made a wrong decision of failing to take time to understand the different consequences of the decisions that he made.
Parents are challenged to train and teach their children to make good decisions early on in their life.
Decision-making cannot simply be learned by reading a book, it has to learned through constant experience like riding a bicycle or swimming. I remember that as early as when I was in Grade 1, my parents would already give me opportunities to hone my decision-making skills by making me decide on what food should I buy given my limited allowance or what kind of toy would I buy every time I would be given an academic award in school. These simple decisions have taught me to think before I act which is very important since oftentimes many of us tend to simply make a decision based on intuition or whim.
Parents should not be afraid to see their children commit mistakes early on in life since these are learning experiences for their children so that when bigger, tougher life decisions have to be made, their children would be better prepared to handle them. Many children grow up being averse to taking risks or making decisions because they were always protected by their parents who made the decisions for them. Instead of protecting our children from taking risks, parents should instead provide pointers or guidelines to their children on how they can make sound decisions.
My parents always taught me that in making decisions, one should always look ahead to the future as to how a particular decision will have an effect in my life. I was taught that one should not only look at the positives in a particular decision but more importantly, the negative consequences that it might have not only to me but also to those around me.
Aside from this, my parents have always reassured me that there is nothing wrong with committing mistakes as long as you learn and grow from these experiences. This is perhaps the reason why I have been able to start several organizations that help promote access to quality education and good governance in our country because I am less afraid to take risks because of the formation given to me by my parents when I was growing up.
Decisions for the country
As we grow up, we realize that decisions have become an integral part of not only our lives but also the life of our nation. There is a reason why there is a minimum age before one can participate in our local and national elections. At 18 years old, the state presupposes already that a person has had enough education and experience to make a well-thought of decision in choosing the right leaders for our country. Sadly, this is not the case for many Filipinos who still do not take this political exercise seriously.
The consequences of making poor decisions in elections have a huge impact in our lives as seen in the recent calamities which caused much flooding in Pampanga, Isabela, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. The reason for this massive flooding is not just the rainwater from typhoons Pedring and Quiel. This was further aggravated by the rapid deforestation that has occurred in our mountains particularly the Sierra Madres. Without trees whose roots absorb the rain, water will naturally flow down from our mountains into our communities. This, again, caused major damage and even casualties this past week.
Deforestation has been perpetuated because our local officials and even our police force have tolerated and even corruptly supported illegal logging activities through the decades. It is actually very ironic that the some of these local leaders that have benefited from these illegal logging activities are now the ones who are trying to win the hearts of people by leading the rescue and relief efforts.
If every Filipino would just learn to make wiser, better decisions such as choosing not to sell his/her vote and choosing to vote for a candidate based on qualifications, platform and virtues then I am sure that many of these social problems that we face right now can be solved.
Hopefully, the next generation of Filipinos will be taught and trained well by their parents and schools to have the necessary skills and competencies to make better decisions for our country since, as we are learning now, a simple decision can make or break our nation.
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