Decisions come in many shapes and sizes.  There are young people deciding what college to go to; a huge decision for them affecting the rest of their lives.  Middle aged couples deciding on the color to paint a room; maybe not so important.  There is a desperate man searching for answers that could lead him to crime; a culmination of choices or consequences of uncontrollable events.  Someone has decided to give blood just because the secretary suggested it; a flippant decision with huge effect on the community.

As we each approach decisions, we evaluate the importance and effects on ourselves, and sometime the importance and effect on those around us.  We sometime consciously decide to help after a catastrophe, be it a flood, a tornado, or the untimely death.  At other times we are consumed with everyday questions from taking the risk of accelerating through a yellow light to the choice between Coke and Pepsi.

Each decision is a balance of risk and reward.  All of us are at sometime overcome by the rewards of the equation and this sometimes results in bad decisions and sometime in dramatic accomplishments.  Sometime we just completely underestimate the risk we take because we think the situation is something we have dealt with before.  Sometimes the risks are so minimal that we do not even notice when we make a bad choice.

Over time I think we have faced all of the scenarios that I have listed.  The affects have been large and small.  There are always consequences.  We can all look back on our lives and remember the bad decisions we have made, and the spectacularly good ones, but most of the mundane ones have been forgotten or become habit.

I have recently taken an account of my past decisions.  In ways this is for self improvement in the future, and in others it is to assist my children as they mature to adulthood.  My oldest son is already in college and my daughter is heading out this fall.  They will be attending the same college, which is a good decision financially.  I just hope that it is a good choice for each of their chosen fields.

I am also considering other peoples decisions.  This weekend, I helped in what could have been described as a good old fashioned barn raising.  Upwards of fifty people showed up over an eight hour period to completely landscape and clean up a house for a graduation party.  The reason was not just a response to a request for help.  The man of the house had fallen off a ladder several weeks ago while taking down Christmas lights.  He broke his neck in the fall and died twelve hours later.  His oldest daughter is graduating from high school in less than a month.  The crowd of people represented everyone who had worked with the man and his wife, friends and relatives.

Just looking at that series of decisions is spectacular.  The man decided to risk reaching too far with disastrous results.  The family decided to continue on with a graduation party to heal and live.  The community decided to help and each of us feels great for just helping.  And all of this is somehow humbling in a way that I can not describe.

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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