Duck, Duck, Goose This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 16, 2009
More by this author
Choices and I have a love-hate relationship. Of course, everyone loves to feel like they have a choice, or we would all be slaves. But at the same time, I hate having choices. I agonize over the simplest of decisions.

“Jennifer, where would you to go to eat?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Jennifer, what movie would you like to watch?”
“I don’t care, you pick.”

I have these kinds of conversations every single day. It always ends with me pretending I don’t have a preference when in reality I just don’t want to decide what that preference is. Because I know if I do decide, there’s a possibility of my ideas and opinions getting shot down condescendingly by other people. And there’s nothing I hate more in this world than the feeling of inferiority.

Indecision started very early for me. I remember being a little kid and there were two games that I would swear came from my own personal hell.

Truth or Dare?
Oh, that’s an easy one. Truth. No. Dare. Ah! This does not require a list of pros and cons. All I have to do is pick one. This should be simple right? Wrong.

Duck Duck Goose.
Except in my version, it was more like Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck, etc. This would continue around the circle for three times because I could not pick a Goose. I wasn’t invited to play Duck Duck Goose very much.

Now, as a teenager, I’m scared. If I can’t even decide who should be my Goose, how am I going to decide where to go to college? Or what to do with my life? These decisions will affect me for a very long time, and I’m not ready for that kind of responsibility. But whether I’m ready for it or not, it’s here. Decision time. Washington University or Vanderbilt University? Doctor or lawyer? Looking around, I don’t spy a truck to run out in front of to make my decision for me. I’m completely and utterly alone. This choice is mine. Only me. And I have no idea how I will make it.

But the blame does not lie solely with me.

For the first eighteen years of a person’s life, their decisions are made for them. Be home at eleven. Go to church. Wear this dress. Make these grades. Be this. Do this. Live this. If I don’t want to? My mother laughs. “As long as you’re under my roof…” It only ever becomes my roof when there are chores that need to be done and we need to share the responsibility for what suddenly becomes “our” house. School is no different. I am led along like a blind dog, being told exactly what to do and how to do it. When I am given some freedom in choosing how to do a certain assignment, it usually ends up with me convulsing on the floor, begging for more instruction. My teachers also have to privilege of making the decision of what I do in my free time. They’re not even very original – it always starts with a home and ends with a work. Basically, all of the authority figures in my life have made my choices for me for a very long time.

So why would I be expected to know how to make them now?

For the first eighteen years of a person’s life, their decisions are made for them. For the remainder of their lives, they will have to make their choices all by themselves. Parents and teachers are supposed to take their children and students and help them develop into self-sufficient adults. No more spoon-feeding. Let kids make their own decisions so that when they need to, they will know how. They will make mistakes, and hopefully they will learn from them. But they can’t be protected forever. Treat them like the adults that you are trying to make them. So that one day, they can shout Goose! with the utmost of confidence.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

sarahmarie said...
Oct. 29, 2009 at 9:26 pm
I can totally relate tot he lack of decision making. You expressed it really well!
Site Feedback