Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

How Difficult Is It to Make a Good Decision       

If something bothered me when I was a kid, I tended to hide out in my room or sit in a corner away from the rest of the family, my nose in a novel. I still react the same way when I have a problem I need to sort out or I have an important decision to make. I need this alone time to figure out what to say, if anything, and what to do. I think about the ramifications of my actions, my words. I ponder and fuss and think some more. Decisions, all decisions really, have consequences.

When my mother was alive, she’d give me some space when I was in one of these funks, and then she’d bring me a bowl of orange sections and sit beside me. The bowl rocked between us as we each reached in for another piece of orange. She’d talk casually about her day, the things that didn’t get done. She’d laugh about something else my dad said or did. She kept chatting until something in me loosened and spilled out like the juice of the oranges on my fingers. I never figured out how she knew the right time to nudge me into talking. Her actions were seamless, measured and never failed to work on me. Okay, I admit it. I’m a bit of a pushover, especially with my mother.

 I’ve often wondered what guided her. How did she make her decisions about what to do and when? Did she change her approach depending on whom she was dealing with and what we each needed? I really don’t know. I’m sure she struggled with her decisions as a parent, as a wife, as a community member, and as a citizen.  It was likely never easy, but I know that she did her best.

I think we all struggle with our decisions. For the most part we want to do the right thing. As I write this though, I’m questioning my premise, particularly given all the news of late about less than admirable behaviour on the part of our corporate and political leaders.

It’s hard to come to the conclusion that our leaders are doing their best for us when you read articles about their antics. I can’t image what it is that guides them. And please don’t tell me their decisions are tough or complicated. I don’t believe any of their decisions are any more difficult to make than the decisions a parent makes about their child every single day.

Where is the logic of our leaders when they spend more money on prisons than schools, particularly when we know that prisons are not an effective deterrent to crime?  This is akin to a parent spending money on candy for their child rather than wholesome food when they know candy isn’t good for their child. And why do we need more prisons when crime rates are at historical lows? See article Harper Spending on Prisons

Before making these policy decisions, did our leaders examine early childhood development programs and other similar initiatives that support young families? If they had, they’d know those programs, which focus on prevention, make communities safer, families happier, citizens more productive, they reduce crime rates, and are cheaper in the long run than any after-care program (nice word for prison). We are one of the wealthiest counties in the world and yet our government invests only 0.2 per cent of our GDP in services for young children and families (CBC Documentary). There is something wrong with these kinds of decisions. They are not based on common sense or what we know about what works.

And if you think there is no logic in the decisions of our governments, our corporate leaders don’t seem to fare much better. Is it just me or have we not seen an increase in corruption in the last ten or so years.  Think about the gluttony of our corporate leaders Executive Excess, the senate scandal Senate Paper Trail, or the Charbonneau Commission Charbonneau Casualties to name only a few disgraceful situations. 

Our leaders act with impunity. They are right and there is no room for questioning the muscle flexing of alpha males. At best, this behaviour is unbecoming and at worst, dangerous (think Syria).

When my sister and I were kids and we’d get into a shoving match, my mother would bring us together to sort it out. She wouldn’t let us out of her sight until we’d sorted out what it was we were fighting about. She didn’t pick sides or spur us on. She was looking to resolve problems not make them worse.

Do you think that Russia, China and the United States, with their clout and strength can’t see it in themselves to come together and resolve the situation in Syria for the benefit of Syrians and the world? What does it take for those in leadership positions to use common sense and do the right thing? Apparently it takes more than pictures of dead children, 100,000 deaths and countless refugees.  At the very minimum, couldn’t they get together to help the countries bordering Syria with the refugee crisis? How tough is that decision to make?

What this world needs is not the speeches or excuses of our corporate and elected leaders, but rather the strong hand and deliberate responses of a mother. Her motivation, based on love, strong universal values and an eagle-eye focus, would be hell bent on solving problems rather than allowing them to escalate. Maybe in a time like this, we all need our mothers. I know I do.   

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