Choose wisely

  • Published
  • By Maj. Richelle Dowdell
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
As I was driving to work recently, I noticed a child about 7 or 8 years old walking toward the school. I quietly admired him as he skipped up the street.  He was so carefree. If only I could be so lucky. However, he stopped abruptly at the corner as a perplexed look fell upon his face.

It was too early for crossing guards to stop the traffic and there were no teachers on duty to guide him across.

He looked left. Right. Left again. He made no movement. Hmm ... how to proceed? Which way to go? 

He could proceed directly across the street and go directly to the school. Or he could go left and then across the street, however, he would still have to cross yet another street to end up on school property. Choices, choices, choices. Ever wonder how many choices you make in a typical day?

You start the day by choosing whether to get up right away or hit the snooze button. You choose whether to boil an egg or have cornflakes for breakfast. You choose to read this commentary or cut it short.

These decisions typically get very little conscious thought. It's as though we are on autopilot. We just kind of do what we "feel like" doing, or what we think we "have to do."

If you stop to think about it, how many of our bigger decisions are also on automatic pilot or made too quickly?

Take a moment to consider what happens when we get too busy to make responsible choices. Responsible choices affect more than just the people who make them; they affect our friends, our supervisors, our families and, yes, our mission.

When our commanders and supervisors brief us on policies, procedures and safety measures, they are providing us with the tools to make informed decisions.

As Airmen we must take time to listen and hear. Equally we must take time to read and fully understand our individual responsibilities to make wise choices.

Line of duty determination, survivor benefits, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice are terms that can come into play when you choose irresponsibly -- the repercussions can last a lifetime -- or prove just the opposite. An annoyed driver honked trying to rush the child to a decision.

He looked left. Right. Left again. All cars had stopped. He received nods from the two leading drivers and he began his journey across the street. In this case, he chose wisely.

Make sure you do the same.

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