Why Tough Choices Are Tough

This week my son made a difficult choice – he chose between two things he loves.

The easy choice was to say yes to both, but in reality, there was not enough time. And in reality, the easy yes was a masquerade. It was really a slow, painful no with rippling consequences to his future. The tough choice did not come immediately and it did not come easy. But in the end, he was ready to make it because he saw things not as he wanted them to be, but as they were.

Once he decided he was going to choose, he had to decide which to choose. A tough choice made tougher because one is mainstream and the other on the fringe. It was clear there were far more overt repercussions with a no to the mainstream. Simply put, the powerful mainstream would not understand. But to his credit, he recognized the mainstream cares about itself, not him. Also, it was clear the fringe accepts him for him. So he sat himself in the future, figured out what was best for the soon-to-be him, and chose the fringe.

Once he decided which to chose, he had to decide how to choose. The easy choice was to slink quietly into the fringe never to be seen again. This was another masquerade. It was really an opportunity to self-devalue his decision and a setup for never ending ridicule over the remainder of his high school career. Instead, he made the tough choice to speak truth to the mainstream authority – face-to-face.

He got up early and met the coach in his office. The gist of the meeting – I’m sad, but this is my choice and why I’m choosing.

To the coach’s great credit, though disappointed, he understood and thanked Ethan for meeting face-to-face. And though emotionally wobbly after the meeting, because he declared his choice and was validated, he stood taller. And once validated by the head of the mainstream, there was no room for ridicule.

This week my son showed me what courage is. And he taught me an important lesson – tough decisions are tough, but we’re better off for making them.

I’m proud of him.

2 Responses to “Why Tough Choices Are Tough”

  • Great post. One can tell a good manager from a poor one by asking what the priorities are. If they say everything is important get them all done…. none are important and few will get done. A good manager has priorities and know the key few to focus thier people on.

    Your son has made a choice and set a priority, a good sign. Keep up the good work Mike ! Tell you son he did the right thing and did it like a mature adult.

    Phil Sallaway – Product Manager, Orange County, Calf.

  • Harriet:

    I’m pretty proud of my grandson too. Glad he went with what put a smile on his face and song in his heart. Touching article Mike.

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Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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