That's what I think of when I hear 'resourceful.' Then there is the opposite of resourceful. I can't decide if it's impatience, selfishness, expediency or some kind of sense of being indestructible, or even that it just doesn't matter, really-- I mean that the consequences, whatever they may be, are deemed not important enough (or is it likely enough) to sway the decision.
Unbelievable decisions has become something of a theme around here these days. The recent tragedy that started me thinking about this was a 32-year-old who fell off the 15th floor of my daughter's building and died from the impact with a balcony rail and a concrete planter and the ground. Her distraught co-workers and friends insist that it wasn't 'stupid' it was just 'poor judgement' -- which is a synonym, I thought, but whatever...
Now I think: if there is anything I want my kids to take with them into adulthood, it is a sense that there is more than one way to accomplish anything, and it's usually a good idea to think of more than one before acting on a plan. The aforementioned woman had locked her keys in her apartment and instead of any of these choices:
- get the other set from her new husband, at work
- call a locksmith and pay $50 to be let into her home
- call the manager and have him use the passkey (no cost)
- wait until her husband arrives home from work
- try breaking in herself
- find some strong guy to break the door down
- get the keys from her husband, get another set cut and return his keys to him, with plans to give the new keys to someone nearby in case it happens again
she decided to climb down to her 14th floor apartment from the apartment directly above, without a safety line. I've done a small, informal survey -- no one I've talked to about this feels it was a smart idea.
My daughter lives on the 17th floor, and I wouldn't lean over that railing to catch any falling object (I'd make a stab for one of my kids, but not even a cat otherwise). I'm not wigged out by the height, I think it's fun to look over the edge and see all the little stuff below, but I wouldn't throw my weight against the railing for anything.
The apartments in question have 10' ceilings, and there is no 13th floor (or, rather, the 14th is the 13th floor) so when she landed on the ground level with the 2nd floor, she fell more than 120 feet. A very brief review of the plan: instead of hesitating or being talked out of this idiotic plan by the wise, elderly woman who tried, this not-young woman decided that it was so important that she make her apartment perfect for her new husband, she would not be swayed from what appears to be the first solution that occurred to her, full of confidence that she would absolutely succeed because, as she told the woman, 'I climb mountains.'
One of the unfortunate realities of life is that sometimes the single dumbest thing we ever decide to do was also the single last thing we ever did. If you can't be a good example, at least you can be a horrible warning... This story, the tragedy of the girl who killed herself after being bullied on MySpace, the many children who commit suicide from live and cyber bullying, the folks who one way or another make it into the Darwin Award nomination list, all point to a sense of 'I had no choice' or even just 'I couldn't (or didn't) think of anything else to do in the situation.' This lack of creativity just astounds me.
So, kids, resourcefulness may some day save your life, even without you ever really noticing.