Helping People to Decide

Maybe one of the most challenging aspects of decision making is that we can’t control what others do and we sometimes get splashed by their mud. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever stood on a corner and helplessly watched a car go through a large puddle, splashing you and everyone else, when the puddle could have been safely avoided? I have. The driver laughed as he drove on.

A friend and I joke that we’d like to print window decals and bumper stickers that simply state, “Just ask me!” It’s our private way of acknowledging things we disagree with and decisions we think are actually rather ridiculous. Would you buy and display the same stickers?

What are proper responses when we recognize others are making unwise decisions? Does it matter if we’ll suffer some consequences because of their choices?

We can lovingly recommend a different thinking process. We can boldly confront when we’ve earned the right, perhaps sharing different questions to ask, options to consider, and evidence that our information should be considered. We can share our perspective and ask whether the person thought of others when making the decision. We can be silent either because it’s really none of our business or the person may learn more from making the decision than our trying to prevent it.

We can pray for the decision maker and any who may be splashed with mud. That’s a much better use of our words and time than complaining. Although venting may help us, it sure doesn’t help the decision maker.

We can teach a decision-making process when it’s appropriate and the person is teachable. How do you decide? Pass on your methods. If you’d like a process I use and recommend to others, contact me and I’ll send it to you. It’s not perfect, but it may stimulate your thoughts.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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