When you raise six kids in a house, things get a little worn. So, when my wife finally decided she wanted a new sofa for the family room I said, “Sure!” Several days of shopping and selecting fabrics (spread over a few weeks) later and the new furniture was on order. The new sofa (two actually) were different styles and somewhat different colors than the previous pieces and soon we were discussing changing out other pieces of furniture to align with the new look. An early casualty was my leather chair, worn and conditioned to fit me perfectly and therefore old and tired looking. We couldn’t find a new one I liked, so mine is getting recovered.
By the way. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a sofa and a couch? Those words are often used interchangeably, but they have different origins and meanings. Sofa comes from the Arabic term “suffah” which describes a bench covered with blankets and cushions. Couch comes from the French word “couche,” which is used to describe “a piece of furniture with no arms used for lying.” So, a sofa is a more formal piece used to seat 2 or more people, with a higher back and arms. A couch is a softer piece potentially with a lower back and no arms (though most do have arms these days) used for lounging around or lying down. Dogs and kids like couches. We bought sofas which the kids will treat like couches.
The walls needed touched up and some repairs made, so the opportunity to change the wall color became a reality. However, the walls weren’t the worst culprit in the ding and dent category, the trim was. The trim never got painted when we moved in and a dozen years of kids in the house had not improved it. So, it was decided to paint all the trim and all the walls (and ceilings) downstairs.
Once the painting was done (which is a story I might tell one day too) the art and pictures went back up, but in mostly different spots. Furniture has been moved, moved again, and then moved back to the original location. There is a new chandelier in the entry way and somehow, we got a new hot water heater during the process. My wife intends to do the upstairs next and the kids that still live at home are threatening to move out.
I keep thinking, “we bought a sofa….”
Often in life, one decision leads to other things we may not be able to foresee. This is not bad or good, it simply is. We can think ahead, model the possibilities, run risk analysis and estimate till we are worn slick, but at the end of it all we cannot be sure where each choice will eventually lead.
In case you are thinking, “well, I just won’t decide.” In the words of Rush (the band, not the talk show host) “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
So how do we make decisions without collapsing under the weight of the myriad potential futures and all the good we may or may not achieve and all the bad we may or may not avoid?
If you do an internet search on “making good decisions”, you will find thousands of articles on the various approaches people have used. I’m sure many of them are very sound advice:
- Trust your instinct, feelings or “gut” when it comes to things you are familiar with.
- 70% of the information is all you need to make a good choice.
- Get objective advice and sleep on bigger decisions.
There are lots of others. What is missing in many of the lists (though not all) is some version of “do what is right.” This begs the question of whether there is a right and wrong that transcends my personal experience. I believe there is.
Many decisions, in the absence of a person who will make a choice, are not moral ones, they are amoral. However, once a person is there to choose, the underlying motivation makes the choice either moral or immoral for that person.
In “Recovering Leadership” I talk about how many of the things I did were “good” things and resulted in benefit for others, but they were “wrong” for me at the time due to my motivations. Having transparency with others is often the way we can be alerted to times when we are doing good things for the wrong reasons.
This is also why we have a mission and core values at Kimray. These statements inform what we believe to be the right way for us to manage the resources under our stewardship. If we are honoring God, strengthening families, being good stewards and maintaining our name as we make a difference in other people’s lives, we can be more confident in the decisions we are making.
Ultimately though, making decisions requires faith. Faith in the other people in your life, faith in yourself, and most importantly faith in God. If I don’t believe in God, I must believe either in my own capability or in random luck. Frankly, neither seem like good places to bet my life. I would rather believe that a loving and gracious God is in control. I have choices to make, but the ultimate outcome is in His hands.
So, let’s make good decisions and have faith that God is in control of the results. That is the Kimray Way.