Monday, 4 July 2016

Lifestyles choices and Choosing life

There are a lot of trends in lifestyle choices these days. One can choose their decorating style, diet, fitness routines, wardrobe and appearance, parenting style, relationship preference, sexual orientation and even gender is a choice now, apparently.  There are a lot of fads, things that seem pleasing, generate a lot of hype and then quickly fade away to be replaced by the next bandwagon to hop on.

patpitchaya @ freedigitalphotos.net
Some choices are ok to be fads -- clothes and shoe styles, for example. While disposable fashion isn't exactly a part of a healthy economy (though some would say its the basis of one), I'm not here to discuss the triangle of environment, economy and politics. We'll save that for another day. But individually speaking, following the trends in how you dress, style your hair, or decorate your home, probably won't hurt your body or soul, even if there's an impact on your wallet.

Some choices, however, have much longer impacts, and not just on individuals, but on families, communities and societies as a whole. Choosing how one parents, for example, affects a lot of people. Choosing who gets to decide impacts a lot more. Choosing what is acceptable and what isn't has implications not just for the present day but for generations to come.

A lot of people approach their responsibilities the same way they approach their wardrobe or diet. The latest fad in parenting, education, and relationships gets tried the way some fashionistas change their shoes, hair or make up routines. And just as quickly, these people change from one style to the next, bouncing around from this "expert" to the next.

I don't claim to be an expert on anything. Far be it for me to judge whether paleo diet vs gluten-free vs vegetarianism is the "global" right choice. As in diets, or clothing, there is no such thing as "one-side-fits-all" in parenting, relationships or education choices. The condescension that is prevalent from one group to the next appalls me. But almost as appalling are those who switch back and forth.

No matter what your personal, carefully-thought-out choices may be in some of these major lifestyle decisions, the key is that you have put the time and effort into considering and choosing. Poor parenting happens when there is no thought. Inconsistent education happens when you flip-flop among radically different choices. And instability happens when decisions are made on pure emotion.

 Serge Bertasius Photography.
We shouldn't decide how we are going to raise our kids the same way we decide on what's for breakfast.

As a parent of many, and especially now as my oldest is entering the teen years, I get asked frequently "how do you do this" -- whether its about my children behaving in stores or handling sleeping/eating or sibling rivalries. I really can't answer that question. I can't tell anyone which is the best way of doing anything. I can share how I have handled things, but .. your mileage may vary.

I do believe there is a one, best way. I don't believe it will look the same for everyone. You can pick attachment parenting, "Love and Logic", grace-filled parenting or "old-school."  The specific details aren't important when it comes to any lifestyle choice, whether that be how you decorate your house or how your relationship works. The most important thing for any lifestyle choice is that you are consistent.

This is why it's so important to think carefully about how you will do things before they come up. Fads create instability. Trends treat treasure like trash. Even with the less-impactful lifestyle choices, such as what you eat -- yo-yo dieting will have long-term negative effects on your health.

Take the time. Ask questions from those who have been there, done that. Carefully consider the pros and cons -- count the cost! Then decide, for yourself, what you will choose. And stick with it.

In life, the key to success is always and has always been: careful, consistent choice.

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