Written by Rebecca Chhay
Every day in life, we’re presented with choices. Right now you have the choice of continuing to read this blog post, or moving onto something else. This morning, you had a choice of whether or not to press the snooze button or to wake up. Life is a reflection of choices.
Some of these choices are not in our hands. For example, no one is able to choose whether or not he or she is born. After that, however, there are a lot of things in our control. One topic that is related to choices has already been discussed on this blog: making a difference.
Generally, people take this to mean a positive difference. You can make a difference by doing the simplest things; for example, letting the bus driver know that there’s someone running to catch the bus. You can also make a difference by not doing anything. The bus will drive away; you’ll likely never see the person who was running to catch the bus again.
In this situation, there is a choice. The choice is whether or not you let the bus driver know to wait another 30 or so seconds. There is no choice as to whether or not you made a difference. In this situation, however, the difference is small and it can be counted in minutes. If you chose not to let the bus driver know to wait the extra 30 seconds, the person who was running to catch the bus will wait a little. No harm done; but what if this weren’t a matter of minutes?
In my seventh grade year at Roosevelt, I went to school one day and it appeared as if a lot of my teachers had colds and had decided to cluster around the entrance to the library to share tissues. During first period, we learned that our Vice Principal Tracee Parsons had gotten into a car accident after leaving school and died almost instantly. She had been making calls to the parents concerning the behavior of their children before leaving school. If one less person had acted out in class, if she had one less phone call to make, if she had gotten out five minutes earlier… I don’t know. I don’t know what would have happened.
I don’t know which students Ms. Parsons called, and even if I did, I wouldn’t blame them. How could they have known that the difference wouldn’t be measured in minutes? They didn’t know what the stakes were. Do you ever know what the stakes are?