Tuesday, November 9, 2010


We make hundreds of them every day. Most, like choosing what to wear or what we want for breakfast, go entirely unnoticed. More deliberate, time-consuming choices, like starting a blog, can open new doors and create a whole new world of contacts and relationships (I hope).

Then there are the BIG ONES. The choices that will change the trajectory of our life. What to do when we grow up (if we grow up). Where to live. Who to marry. Do we want children? Will we settle for a dog?... Here we have control, mostly. We can choose our friends. But the family we are born into, the color of our skin, the country and economic strata - those choices are made for us.

I am one of the lucky ones. I was born into a loving family in western Canada. When I was young, we were poor, but we always had food, clothes, a roof over our heads and an amazing world around us to explore. When I was eight or nine years old I recognized this blessing and began being thankful for all I had. So many other children have not been as lucky.

Last night Romeo Dallaire was in Calgary. His latest book, "They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children" looks at the plight of children abducted and used as child soldiers. Born in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, the Congo and many other war-torn countries, these children know abject poverty, rampant disease and pervasive violence. They had no choice about any of this. They cannot leave.

“Child soldiers,” Dallaire writes, “are a commander's dream come true: the perfect low-technology, cheap and expendable weapon system that can perpetuate itself ad infinitum.” It's easy for them to be lured away by armed soldiers who promise to feed and clothe them. Dallaire wants to eradicate the estimated 250,000 children involved in armed conflict around the world. He is actively recruiting Canadian teens to join his Campaign Zero Force (http://www.zeroforce.org/). He hopes to recruit 2.5 million teenagers to 'talk' to the youth in developing countries through Skype, Facebook, text messaging or even in person. "I want them to be disturbed enough about this to do something," Dallaire said. He sees the next generation of students who have been blessed by living in this country become advocates on behalf of those who "are at risk of being abducted, raped, drugged, abused and used as child soldiers."
So can we take the blessing we have recieved and make a tangible difference in someone else's life?

Mildred Taylor says, "We have no choice of what color we're born or who our parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we're here."

What choices have you made that have changed your life for the better? The worse? If you could live life over again, would you change some of the choices you've made?

PS - Special thanks to Heidi for your persistence. Yes, a blog! Finally.


  1. Excellent first post! I'm glad you got the chance to go see Dallaire speak!

    (Oh, and I'm nothing if not persistent.)

  2. Glad to see you have started your post. I'm not sure if I would change anything in my life. We can't change the past, we can only prepare for the future. Now if I could plan my future, I could come up with lots of ideas.

  3. Yay! Heard that you were threatening to do this. :p Good job on this. If you don't mind a jedi commentary on it, when you say race, do you mean persons of slime like Jabba, or persons of fur like Bothans? And what of those who are hatched and not born? Er, ah .. okay. Choices that changed my life? Becoming a jedi? Change choices? Make a better space craft so I'm not stranded here?

  4. Heidi - thanks for your persistence! Now I will be persistent right back at you - looking forward to some writing. Ich bin nicht bitten Sie schreiben Sei einen Roman in Deutsch!

    Sandy, wouldn't we all love to plan our future. I wonder how that would change the person we become through the trials in life?

    My Stranded Jedi friend Gene - I was just talking about habitable planets with one of my Fat-5 friends yesterday. She's been OD'ing on Douglas Adams and recommended this wonderful planet where oversized plastic flowers shoot corn starch inducing happy and peaceful feelings. Do you want me to get the coordinates.

  5. Douglas Adams. Awesome and quirky writer. Really enjoy him. I think that I do have the coordinates to that world. See, the Enterprise ran into this on Omicron Ceti III (Stardate 3714.3 btw) with the plastic flowers :p (qv Season 1 TOS This Side of Paradise). Erm, was the corn starch flavored?

    Incidentally in your first paragraph there either your keyboard misfired or my Babelfish slipped out of my ear.

  6. Good to see the letters in print! Welcome to the club (although I'm one to talk as I rarely update - but you know me, don't say it unless you have something to say).

    Big decisions (choices) is a misnomer. Big choices only come after making little choices that lead up to it. When deciding to move back to the prairies was a big decision, but it was the little decisions that were made along the way that made that 'big' decision just one more little one.

  7. I never though of our choices that way, Methodius, but you are right. They are a series of smaller decisions that make up the "BIG ONES." Marriage was like that for me, a lot of decisions along the way until you are ready and waiting...and waiting... did I mention waiting? for the BIG proposal.

  8. A 'Doris' blog!! Wonderful!!
    I love your comment that as a child you discovered 'an amazing world around (you) to explore' because it exemplifies you so well. You have a contagious enthusiasm and through it you help others to see our world as 'amazing' too.
    I would definitely change some of the choices I've made. However I also recognize that I made those choices based on the situation and what I understood at the time. I think the most important thing (which I'm still learning) is for us to move past our regret and make the best of where we are now - making better choices as we go.

  9. That's one of the things I have learned from observing you, Joy. To recognize we made the best choices we could have given the circumstances and to move past regret. You have done that and it is wonderful to see the new you emerge!