[UPDATE - I am sorry to dissapoint everyone who may have read this post, but I actually ended up buying the car. After a second look at all the variables, the opportunity to buy the Challenger was just too good to pass up. I don't think I have to justify this to anyone really, but I thought it would be appropriate for me to update this post.]
Over the last few months I have been struggling with a decision. Not a life or death decision, in fact a somewhat greedy decision. I was trying to decide if I should buy a 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. This not one of those simple, "just go buy it" choices, especially in these times. I was researching, analyzing, justifying, and rationalizing this decision. I got to a point where I had decided I am going to buy this car. I don't care how much it costs. I can afford the payment and I deserve it. Good job to me.
Then I took a moment to show my wife on my little budget spreadsheet just how affordable this 32K purchase was. "Look, we can afford the payment no problem." Then I walked through the impact it had on our financial life for the next five years - not a pretty picture. In fact, after verbalizing it to her it was clear that it is the wrong decision. The wrong choice for my family.
Earlier that day I was working with my 3 1/2 year old son on how the choices he makes affect his life. This is not a simple discussion. Trying to get him to realize that screaming "I want it! I want it!" is not going to end with him getting that cookie is a tough task. He loves cookies. But slowly he gets it. It takes a couple of times of not getting the cookie for him to realize that if he behaves and makes good choices, he will in time get the treat.
How can I explain to my son the value of making good choices when I was considering making a terrible choice simply because - I wanted one? Do the right thing - That's ultimately the lesson everyone should follow. It's so easy to get that instant gratification, whether it’s a cookie or a 30K muscle car. The consequences of that choice can be hard to see, often a touch lesson to learn. However, making a good choice - teaching a child, inspiring someone in a positive way all lead to those "Good Choice" moments. Maybe they chose not to get into a car with someone who has been drinking. Maybe they decide to spend one more hour reading instead of playing Wii. Every choice has a consequence.
Be a Hero
Doing the right thing or making the "good choice" may not be what we want to do. So inspired by things like "25 things" and other social networking polls, I would challenge you to do another. Finish this statement:
"I am going to be a hero today by..."
In my case I may say "I am going to be a hero today by teaching my son about good choices". Others may say "I am going to be a hero today by reading a book to my daughter". You get the idea. Be creative. Do something that will teach and inspire...be a hero.