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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This is Your Choice: You Can Do it With a Good Attitude or a Bad Attitude

Growing up, when I was given chores or other responsibilities, sometimes I would ask, "Do I have a choice?" My mom and dad always had the same answer:
"Of course you have a choice! You can do it with a good attitude or a bad attitude!"
To which I would sigh resignedly and go and do whatever it was they asked me to do, believing there wasn't actually a choice at all.

The memory of these words often resonate with me at work because I am often asked to do things I seriously don't want to do. I am assigned clients who I feel uncomfortable, or unqualified, working with, and I am asked to complete tasks which I dislike or disagree with. But its where I work, and no one is asking me my opinion or my permission, and its my best chance and hope of fulfilling my own personal goals.

I recently watched a movie called "The Rundown" starring The Rock. In the movie, his character, Beck, is a mob enforcer who has no taste for violence and just wants to open up his own restaurant. He gives people 2 options:
Beck: I need you to make a choice for me.

Travis: What choice?

Beck: Option A or Option B. Option A: we walk out of here nice and easy, we go back to the airstrip, and then we begin our long journey back to Los Angeles. There'll be no bruises, no broken bones, and no problems.

Travis: What's Option B?

Beck: Pretty much the opposite of A. But I wouldn't recommend that one.

Travis: I'll take option "C."
Beck: Travis, there is no option "C."
Travis: Really?
Beck: Mm-hmm.

Travis:Are you sure? I mean, big boy,there's always an option "C."

   Travis opts for Option C, and eventually ends up with option B. I keep finding myself thinking, "where's my option C? I'd like another choice, please." But that's not really how the system works, not if I want to keep my job.

   A lot of the kids I work with are system kids, in foster homes or group homes, and a large part of their symptoms results from the grief rage they continue to experience as a result of being ripped from their families by CPS, even if it was for their survival. They have no choice either, and the message they get in their group home and from their social workers is "that's the way it is, so start getting in line." That's easier said than done. I pick up on their rebellion, and while I can't condone their choices, I can empathize with their stance.

  So, like my little foster care/ group home kids, I still have the following choice, the choice presented in every seemingly involuntary situation: I can do it with a good attitude or a bad attitude. I don't always choose good attitude, but lately I have been trying to do this for my own sanity. I have been trying to suppress the rage I experience when I feel like a square role in a round peg, and focus on what I am doing it all for: My future, my family, and the glory of God. And unlike my system kids, I do have a choice: I choose to keep going to work everyday and subject myself to someone else's authority in order to choose a better future. I am still in control, and I am still choosing. And, someday in the future, because I stayed on track, I'll get my Option C.

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