Choices

Two men grew up in the same home with the same parents.  Although they were brothers, twins to be exact, their lives couldn’t have turned out any differently.  This is the account of what they went through and the two different paths they took.

Jeff and Jim were both tall and muscular as adults, but, as kids, they were both short and scrawny.  Their father beat on them daily.  He would reason that he was just toughening them up.  Most of the time it was after a drinking binge or a fight with their mother.

That all stopped when the boys turned twelve.  On their birthday, the police stormed in and arrested their father for robbery with a deadly weapon.  He served 5 years for his crime.This meant that Jeff and Jim didn’t have to endure the daily beating, but it also meant their dad was gone.

Although he beat them, he also paid attention to them. He taught them how to work on cars and shoot a gun.  Once he was locked up, the boys were ignored.

Their mom, Margie, couldn’t care less about her sons.  She would stay away from the house during the day and, most of the time, didn’t come home at night.  Eventually, she just didn’t come home at all.  The boys were left to raise themselves.

Jeff became angry and took it out on everyone.  He would pick fights with kids in the neighborhood, and he was caught stealing beer from the local convenient store.  He spent six months in Juvenile Hall at the age of fourteen.  Of course, this wasn’t the end of his time in jail.  He was in and out of Jail all through his teen years.

 Jim, on the other hand, made a decision not to end up like his dad.  He, along with his brother, did poorly in school up to the time his dad left.  Well, after his dad went to prison, Jim decided to change that.

 Jim began to teach himself to read.  He sought out tutoring, and he joined school clubs like journalism and science.  He also ran track.  To help support himself and his brother, he took jobs around the neighborhood, and eventually he started his own landscaping business to save up for college. 

Although hisfamily had no respect in the community, Jim was trusted and well liked.  The neighbors were so pleased with his workthat they would give him big tips.  Theywere surprised by his work ethic and trustworthiness.

Jim pleaded withhis brother to stop his life of crime, but it was to no avail.  Jeff ignored his brother and became resentfulof his brother and his success in school and in the community.  He would poke fun of his brother for all hischarity work.

Jim became more and more determined to work hard in school, so he could go to college.  He also decided to go to the free school counseling on his school’s campus, which helped him to understand his negative emotions brought on by the pain. 

Due to Jeff’s frequent stay in Jail and their mom’s frequent absence, Jim was left alone in the house to study and work on his many journalism pieces for the school newspaper.  He loved to write, and he became an exceptional writer and journalist.

One day, afterthe brother’s 18th birthday, Jeff was arrested formanslaughter.  He had beaten a young manto death, and he would be spending a long time in prison.

Jeff wasrequired to go to counseling as part of his sentencing.  He met with Dr. Jameson who was shocked tofind out that Jeff had a brother who never spent any time in prison.

Dr. Jameson askedJeff why he thought his brother never spent time in prison.

Jeff simply replied, “Because Jim chose a different path.

This story is anexample of choices we make.  These boyshad the same past, but made two different choices.  The two boys may have went two differentways, but something happened after Jeff started seeing his counselor and madethe one statement about his brother. Jeff decided to make better choices.

Jeff completed his stay in prison, but he decided he wanted to change.  He knew the only way he could change is with his brother’s help.  Once released, he and his brother united and Jeff moved in with Jim but, this time, he did what he needed to do to change.

Jim completed college and became an award winning journalist.  He continued to see a counselor throughout his life.  Most of his journalism was focused on raising awareness for good causes.  He helped to raise awareness for child abuse and human trafficking all over the world.

While living with Jim, Jeff decided to go back to school.  After graduating from high school, he went to community college.  Now, he is a mechanic and is working to control his anger one day at a time.

If Jeff had listened to his brotherand chose a different path, his life would have turned out differently.  Fortunately, he was able to turn his lifearound by choosing a different path.  Herealized that his life was in his hands. The one thing that Jeff understands is that Jim made the right choices,so his life took a totally different path than his own.

We all have choices.  We may make the wrong choice, but, if wecontinue to make bad choices, we will not like the outcome.  If we decide to cheat, give into our anger,or steal, we will have to live with our consequences.  It is one thing if we make a bad decisiononce, but, when it becomes a pattern, we have to deal with bigger consequences.

Jim tried to warn his brother, butJeff didn’t want to listen to him.  A lotof times, we need to stop and listen to those giving us advice.  Sometimes, the warning is valid and we needto change something we are doing.  Othertimes, we need to dismiss the advice, because it is not valid or givenselfishly.  It also depends on the persongiving the advice.

                After Jeff started making better choices, he realized that he needed to listen to his brother.  His brother was giving him solid advice, because he wanted Jeff to have a good life.  Jeff just didn’t listen, because he was angry and already decided he didn’t want anything to do with his brother’s way of life.

Challenge:   When you are faced with decisions, take a careful look and ask questions about what your choice would do to your future.  If your inquiry uncovers negative consequences, then look at other options.  Taking time to make a decision is vital to success and living with positive consequences.  Once you make a choice, you need to evaluate it and see if it is the right choice.  The moment you find yourself facing a negative consequence you need to learn from the decision, and you need not to make that bad decision again.

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