Thursday, 12 November 2015


May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. – Nelson Mandela

C is for Choices

We make many choices each day. For example, what clothes we wear: the red or the black dress? What we will have for lunch: a salad or a meat pie? Will we exercise or stay in bed for the next hour… 

Some choices will have little effect on us, like whether we eat an apple or a pear for afternoon tea. Others will have major effects, such as deliberately driving our car after we’ve been drinking, then having a serious crash.

Some choices can slowly creep up on us. Our weight could be one of them. If we eat lots of high fat, high sugar fast foods and don’t exercise, then one day we may find that our waistbands are tight or the button on our jeans doesn’t do up. 

Tuesday I went to a CRU (Community Resource Unit) seminar on the NDIS. The NDIS is the National Disability Insurance Scheme which is taking over from Disability Services, in Australia. In 2016 it will start to be rolled out in Queensland. One of the activities we had to do during the day, was to write down our vision for our disabled child. My child Jessica, has Down syndrome and my husband and I actually already have a vision for her.

Our vision is for adult Jessica: We see her as an independent member of the community. She will live on her own, be financially secure, and have friends, relationships and interests/hobbies. Our vision for her is the same as it is for our other two children, who do not have an intellectual impairment or developmental delay.

Having a vision though is not enough. Deliberate choices for how we are going to help Jessica reach the destination, need to be made, otherwise the vision will never be realised.

At the moment she is eight years old, but we are already working on the skills that she will need, to be able to live independently. For example, we are helping her to achieve her personal hygiene and dressing skills. Jessica helps me bake and she does simple tasks around the home. She is learning to swim as she wants to join the Swim Club like her brother. That will also be a good fitness activity for her when she is an adult. We take her to stores, teaching her how to shop. She has speech therapy and occupational therapy. And we try to give her a broad range of experiences. The list goes on.

We have fears for when Jessica is an adult. Will she have the skills to be able to live independently? Will she be safe? We won’t know until we get there, but if we give in to our fears now, we won’t offer her the opportunities or teach her the skills she will need. It is so important that our choices reflect our hopes, NOT our fears.

Now, you may not have a disabled child, but you can still do some self-reflection on what choices you are making with your life. You can have your own vision and plan the steps involved in reaching your destination.

Think for a moment about your friendships, relationships and work, and answer these questions:

·         Are the choices and decisions you are currently making, producing positive outcomes?

·         Are they giving you a better life?

·         Are they giving you hope for your future?

Sometimes you need to make instant changes. For example, cut friends, stop bad habits, start saving.  Some things of course, you may not be able to change so easily, such as your employment. But if you want to change jobs you can start planning how you are going to get out of it. You could investigate promotions, study options, read the employment section of the newspaper etc.  Even small positive changes will have an effect.

Is there one change you can make today?

Life is all about choices. Which direction will you take?


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