With the exception of sleeping, my four-year-old grandson, Jack, never stops moving—constantly walking, running, exploring, breaking stuff, laughing, and more. Just watching him makes me tired. He's not so good, however, at anything resembling holding still. Like sitting in church, where the people around him don't appreciate his noisy, adventuresome behavior as much as I do. His father—my son Mike—called me recently to describe a conversation he'd just had with Jack.
"I hate church," Jack said.
"Really?" Mike asked. "Jesus made church."
Jack was not impressed. "I hate Jesus."
"Why do you hate Jesus?"
"Because he made church."
Hard to deny the logic of a child, eh? And yet we adults reason in a similar way. The latest in learning research has actually demonstrated that--contrary to our former views--we tend not to make decisions based on the careful gathering of information. No, we make decisions based on our feelings—usually what we want—and then we come up with reasons to justify what we want.
There's nothing wrong with having desires or irrational feelings, but we do need to pause—at least briefly—to consider where our desires come from. Are we acting out of fear? Are we being inconsiderate of the effect of our choices on others? Are we disregarding the long-term consequences of our choices?
Most of us don't make decisions with any more care or wisdom than a four-year-old, and that's how we end up in the predicaments that so often seem to come out of nowhere. If we don't know how to be wiser, we can at least consult those who might see more clearly than we--who are not blinded by the feelings and desires that distract us.