Walking in the mall recently, I was stopped dead in my tracks. Not because I saw something that I just had to have, but because of a slogan that I saw on a top. This top simply said, “Good choices make bad stories.” I was incredulous, and pretty annoyed. This is what retail is touting to the youth?
It made me think of one of my favourite quotes from Doctor Who,
“We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”.
The sentiment of these two phrases is similar, and yet the connotation is leagues apart.
You know, I have many stories from the days before I was saved; good ones, crazy ones, embarrassing ones, awesome ones. Not one of those stories though makes me think “the choices I made that led me to becoming an angry, depressed alcoholic were so worth it for those stories.”
No. In fact, since I started making good choices for myself, I think that my stories have gotten even better. My stories have substance. They have faith, love and the ability to help others and maybe make a difference to others’ lives.
Once you make good choices for yourself, you also create in yourself the capacity to make good choices for others. What I mean by that is, your choices can then be for the benefit of others.
The Bible is full of great stories, and I can honestly say that the stories that impact me are the ones where someone makes the good choice.
So back to the shopping mall; the sad part is, this isn’t an isolated thing. This isn’t the only top out there encouraging youth to make bad decisions or excusing bad or even dangerous behaviour.
In recent years the term YOLO has assaulted all of our ears. Once again it has a similar sentiment to “carpe diem” and yet so much more damaging for our youth to follow. Carpe Diem is about seizing every moment and day of your life and living it to the fullest; YOLO is a way to justify doing something stupid.
I look at young people today and everything that is thrown at them, from social media to clothes and entertainment – very little of this encourages them to make good choices, the right choices, the patient choices. It almost terrifies me that I will one day have to raise children in this.
Do you know what gives me hope though, when this fear strikes? God. Church. I know the environment my children will be raised in; that family that is our church. It gives me hope for our children that despite all that is thrown at them, God will equip them to make good choices and good stories.
I’m going to leave you with three examples from the Bible, from fiction, and from real life, where someone made the difficult but good choice and came out with a great story.
The story of Esther is one of my favourite in the Bible. It has everything a good story could want; love, faith, courage, adversity, intrigue. Esther chose to go to the King even though it could mean her death. She chose her people and her faith, and saved her people from death.
Bilbo was happy in the Shire. He didn’t want to leave the comfort of his home and the routine of his daily life. However, he eventually agreed to help the dwarves and Gandalf, and we all know about his exciting adventures in The Hobbit that made him wiser and more confident.
Desmond went to war and refused to carry a weapon. He was a conscientious objector because of his faith and faced adversity for this choice. However, he stuck with it, saved many lives and became the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honour. His story became the movie, Hacksaw Ridge.