By Craig Funston
I’m not sure why, but when my dad was offered a job in St. Louis decades ago, he turned it down. He decided to stay in Richmond, BC, and raise his family there. The rest, they say, is history: His choice of vocation and location had a ripple affect on his marriage, church, and the future of his four sons.
Today, I live with the results of that decision—and I was fine with that.
Almost thirteen years ago, I went through the same process: Either stay in Abbotsford, BC, or move to southern Alberta. The ramifications were pretty severe, yet I made the bold decision to move to Alberta. Like my dad, that choice has had a ripple affect on my marriage, church, and the future of my own nine kids.
As they’ve gotten older, they too, like their dad and granddad before them, have made or are making vocation and location decisions. It’s a pattern that has been in existence since time began, and will continue until time is no more.
I was free to choose and I chose freedom. Freedom from financial millstones and freedom from urban chokeholds; freedom for a healthier and safer lifestyle, and freedom for a brighter future for my whole family. It’s been tough, really tough, but it’s been good decision. I made the choice, and now I live with the consequences.
We are all the product of other people’s choices. In my case, my dad made a decision that affected me; I did the same with my own kids. If they didn’t like it here, then as they got older they had the freedom to move elsewhere. They were not bound by my decision, yet they will have to live with theirs.
They are free to make good ones or bad ones, ones that will impact both themselves and those around them, to their advantage or disadvantage. It’s called taking responsibility, taking charge. It’s a rare ingredient today, and not only among the young, either.
If there’s one thing that we global citizens all have in common—black or white, Indian or Chinese, pagan or religious—it’s choices. Unfortunately, the more repressive the society, the less freedom there is to make choices.
I’m sure Somalia, North Korea, Iraq, and Kazakhstan come to mind when you think of repressive societies. People bound by Sharia[h] law, shackled by the cultural prison or sexism,or waiting for that dreaded knock on the door at midnight, are far from choosing their own way. I agree.
We all certainly have deep-rooted desires to choose: to live, to hope, to work; choices to be free from fear, hunger, even death.
And then there’s Canada—free, open and choice-friendly Canada: We live in a country with freedom to choose lifestyle, education, career, housing, even groceries, yet I wonder if we as a nation have ever been more restricted ourselves. We’re Somalia without the sadistic warlords, North Korea without a leader with goofy haircut, Iraq without the religious bloodletting, or Kazakhstan without the meglomaniacal imprint on every surface.
In other words, we live in a land where there is a plethora of choices, but we squander them on a daily basis. Canada by all accounts should have a thriving economy and a robust society because of freedom. There is no reason for anything else.
Yet while we have the freedom to choose life, we tinker with death; freedom to hope, we opt for despair; freedom to stand up, we cower. I suggest much of our woes, from individuals to a nation as a whole, are because of stupid choices we all make on a regular, daily basis.
You see, there’s a myth out there that freedom of choice is defined as having no restrictions, no rules, no boundaries. Freedom, then, in the minds of many, means doing what one wants to do, when one wants to do it, with whomsoever one chooses.
Friends, nothing, as in N-O-T-H-I-N-G, could be further from the truth.
One of the ironies of the West is that the more things and less restrictions we have, the better off we are. The more of the one and the less of the other makes us better, happier people. Again, nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s new year, and this is my token resolution column: Choose wise choices.