Choose Your Path

Years ago, I played High School eight man football as an offensive center, and as a right guard on defense. (My ball handling skills were crap) On defense, my coach told me something that stuck with me, “If you are unsure what you are doing, go 100% anyway”.  On the field, that philosophy helped me get past the line of scrimmage and cause panic for the offensive running backs. Later in life, that philosophy helped me go somewhere.

A few years later, I found myself in a situation where I was not sure what I was doing. I was working a crap job, throwing lumber in a sawmill. Pay was horrible, and my dating prospects were a joke. I talked with a good friend of mine and we decided to move from our station in life up to Alaska. We bought a $500 camp trailer and towed it up there, with not enough gas money to get home. Soon, we found another crap job shoveling dirt. By the end of summer, I was fed up.

More than 20 years later, I still vividly remember laying in bed in Alaska, coming to the realization that if I did not do something with my life, I would become a loser, with a loser for a wife, surrounded by little losers for children. Until that point, I focused on the situation I was in, not on what I was becoming. This is the point where I decided I needed to improve myself.

In spite of not knowing what I wanted to do at that point, I decided I would look into the mechanics trade. I liked working on cars, and felt it would be a good fit. I go back to live with parents, and save up money. During this time, I toured several colleges and decided to go into mechanical engineering instead. That paid much better, and would be more on the design of mechanical systems.

During my first year of college, I decided to go into civil engineering. It was related to my program so I didn’t have any pain in changing majors at that point. This major gave me the option of living in a smaller community. From there on, I pressed forward and became what I am today.

A Common Mistake

So many kids graduate high school, and then go into college, still not knowing what to do. They think they can go and decide what they are going to be in the coming years as they are taking the general classes. It sounds fine, but what is missing is the drive to be the best they can be. Like when I was in Alaska working crap jobs, they are just flowing through life and taking easy classes. They are wasting time and resources. Eventually, those debts will need to be paid.  However, because they were not decisive in what they wanted to do, their major is fairly general, and of little use. That indecisiveness early on locked them down into something that was not beneficial.

Conversations with a friend

Many times, I have spoken with a particular friend who has a rather different lifestyle than I do. He enjoys the single life, around girls and the freedom that is associated with it. I am more of the traditional family life. We both agree that whatever path you choose, there are positive and negative outcomes. I will never know what it is like to be in a threesome, he will never know what will be like to be a grandfather. That is fine, we make our choices, and we need to live with them.

Where people get hurt is when they try to live more than one lifestyle. The single guy who fathers a child will be stuck paying child support, and see the child from a distance develop social problems because the kid lacks proper masculine guidance. Similarly, the married guy who cheats around, trying to live the single life will inevitably break a marriage with equally devastating consequences.

A working mother is the same, she cannot do both effectively, and heartache and pain is often the result.

A Poem

– Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There are decisions we have to make in life. It is inevitable. Sometimes we regret those decisions. However, even the most painful decisions and circumstances that result do lead to experience that cannot come any other way. I have an experience where I wound up living 1000 miles from my hometown, with no job, and 4 kids to feed. We were hungry and miserable, and close to being thrown outdoors.
Looking back, I cherish those memories. In it, I gained an appreciation for people and their charitable attitude. One morning, we get a knock on the door. and nobody is there, but stacks of Christmas presents for the kids, and a $1000. All of this was given anonymously by charitable people that I do not know. Also, I have a better appreciation for the good and fat times. Had I not made those poor decisions prior, I would of never had that.

Family Life

On top of college, I know of several people who are half-assing their family life. Unlike my single friend, they are cohabitating (possibly with children). In doing so, they are failing at the single life and failing at the traditional family life. Their unwillingness to make a decision and stick with it is hurting society. The only ones that benefit are Democrats who get votes from the welfare cases that develop.

If you are going to live the single life, live it and accept the ramifications. If you are wanting a family, have a family. But, accept the responsibility. You need to do what you can to minimize likelihood of divorce.

  • Have impeccable integrity
  • Choose a wife who has impeccable integrity
  • Regularly teach your family (including yourself) to maintain that integrity
  • Throw away the TV
  • Maintain your marriage
  • Have a traditional household

Even if married, so many couples are separated spiritually. If she is going to church, go. At church, there are so many men who should be the priesthood leader of the home who are not. They leave that to the wife. Not only does that cause discontent in the marriage, it decreases their status in her eyes. If you go, she will follow. Rarely do I see a man who goes to church where his wife stays home.

Conclusion

In “The Karate Kid”, Mr. Myagi has the following conversation with Daniel:

Miyagi: Now, ready?

Daniel: Yeah, I guess so.

Miyagi: [sighs] Daniel-san, must talk.

[they both kneel]

Miyagi: Walk on road, hm? Walk right side, safe. Walk left side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi: get the squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,”

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi: just like grape. Understand?

Daniel: Yeah, I understand.

Miyagi: Now, ready?

Daniel: Yeah, I’m ready

Daniel had a choice before him, either he could have get completely away from fighting and be like most of the kids, or he could dedicate his life to it. Doing it half way would only get him hurt. Like Daniel, we have that choice before us every day. Take heed.

Author: Jim Johnson

As a man in his early 40's, I grew up on a dairy farm in an irreligious home. Disgusted with the choice of women out there, I looked into religion to find a worthwhile mate. At 23, I joined the LDS (Mormon) faith, married, became a civil engineer, and now have six children. My favorite things are puppies, long walks on the beach, and the color blue (not really).