03 September 2008

Choices come with Consequences

It wasn't long after my post on my character flaws that God decided to show me something else about them. He decided to let me work through an issue where the laziness of someone before me had caused not only a large amount of work that needed to be done, but some unnecessary out of pocket expenses were paid by a customer. The customer will be refunded and so it seems to be a "no harm, no foul" experience. Appearances are deceiving.

The company I work for paid for an hour of my productivity because someone was forgetful and missed a step that actually only takes less than 10 seconds to complete. The customer in question lives paycheck to paycheck and cares for her parents and her disabled brother. It's all well and good that eventually her money will be returned to her, but when you live hand to mouth waiting for accounting to cut a check can mean the difference between having lights that come on when you flip the switch and having food on the table to feed your elderly parents and disabled brother. Choices she would not have had to make if someone had taken those few seconds to complete their task.

The irony of the situation did not escape me. The customer thinks that I am the kindest and best representative she has ever spoken with because she hasn't a clue that while I found the problem this time, I more than likely created a similar problem for someone else. Not because I intentionally neglected something but because I let myself build bad habits and haven't made doing it the right way a priority.

There are a lot of things that I haven't made priorities in my life as I should have. I can't help but notice the irony in that too because my public safety and emergency management training is based on being able to prioritize and I do that exceedingly well. But the priorities in my life, absent of emergencies, I have handled poorly. I might ramble on about the unfairness of choices you make at 15 affecting you when you are 50, or how if someone had been paying attention to me, I might have learned to make some better choices, but what good would it do?

This also makes me think of John McCain's pick for vice president, Sarah Palin. Here is a woman whose daughter's choices at 17 may have an effect on her mother's political career. Conservative opponents will argue that she must not be a good mom and role model because her daughter is pregnant. Liberals will say "This is what you get when you only teach abstinence, she wouldn't be pregnant if she had been taught about birth control." And there will be a smattering of people in the middle with opinions as well. Pro-lifers will say they are doing the right thing for her to keep the baby. Pro-choicers will say it is ridiculous to be happy about a teenage pregnancy.

Me? Anyone who has parented a non-compliant child knows just how non-compliant even 'good' teenagers can be. My oldest ran off and was living with a man much older than she. My youngest shaved her head and went around town looking like a medieval torture device. I took both of the girls in to raise them after their mom died and I got treated by some as if I deserve sainthood and by others as if the girls behavior was a result of my being a religious fanatic. My kids had it rough. Generally speaking, all teenagers do. Our culture, because of its medicine and nutrition, builds teenagers whose bodies mature faster than they used to. Similarly, they have fewer responsibilities to help the family survive. So we have physical maturity and emotional immaturity coupled with irresponsibility running around in the same bodies. It's a wonder that most teenagers survive to adulthood at all.

Yes, Bristol is young. A hundred years ago Bristol's age would not be as much an issue as her marital status. To my way of thinking there is something valuable in the parent/child relationship evidenced by the fact that Bristol told her parents she was pregnant. In Alaska, she didn't have to get parental permission to have an abortion at 17.

Other than that, I don't have too much to say about Sarah Palin. That might change after her speech tonight. I hope to do some reading about her today as well.

No comments: