Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Chances" Vs. "Choices"

At times, it seems that the two words, "chances" and "choices", are used interchangeably, but that would be incorrect.  A chance is a behavior or making a decision that I hope will turn out OK.  If I throw three balls at a carnival doll, there is a chance I might knock it over and win a prize. If I sit at a slot machine or a card table, there is a chance I might win.  A chance places many of the factors for a positive outcome external to me.   If I continue to misbehave in the classroom or in life because I understand that I have been granted two mulligans, I realize that I really don’t have to get serious the first two times.  Conversely, a choice gives me the opportunity to make a correct or healthy decision immediately.  A choice puts the power in my hands and gives me a real life experience to do the right thing.

When given multiple chances to do the right thing, there is an implied agreement that I will not be held accountable the first two times.  Have we ever heard a five year old, or an adult for that matter, say, “Give me one more choice?”  Likely not, because the implicit message in a choice is the agreement that I am capable of making an appropriate decision and the responsibility to do so is mine.  Culturally it seems we have been on a slippery slope when using these two words interchangeably.  We want to avoid the danger in contributing to the “normalization of excuse-making.” 

Your thoughts are welcome!

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