Life Lessons from Unlikely Sources: 3 Things a Feather Boa Taught Me

Just before Halloween, I was in Value Village rushing to put together a last minute costume for a party I was going to later that night.  I was cruising the aisles when I came across some feather boas.  One of those might just add a finishing touch to my costume, I thought. And, it was only $5.99.  So, without really thinking about it, I tossed it into my basket.

At the checkout, I noticed a few feathers in the bottom of my basket and a few more fell off when I put the boa on the counter.  I ignored the doubts that were beginning to creep up and bought it anyway.

Later, as I was putting on my costume, I bought the boa out and unclipped it from the holder.  More feathers fell off.  I wrapped it around my neck and more feathers fell off.   I had just vacuumed that morning, so I tried to pick up the feathers as best I could. However, the fluff was hard to pick up.  Feeling a little rushed, I decided I would deal with it in the morning and went downstairs to get my coat and leave.  Of course, a few more feathers fell off as I made my way out to the car.

By the time the evening ended, I had left a trail of feathers and fluff everywhere.  In my house, in my car, on the table at the hall, on the floor, on my coat.  When I got home that night, I finally made the first wise decision since putting the darn thing in my basket: I dumped it in the garbage.

The next morning, though, I had to deal with the mess.  There I was, cleaning out my car and vacuuming for the second time in two days, and cursing myself for such a stupid purchase.  Grumbling about the added work I had made for myself, I realized that my purchase could teach me a few things:

1. Careless decisions cost us in the long run.  I was in too much of a rush to check out the quality of the boa or question if I really needed it.  In the end, I ended up having to redo the vacuuming and cleaning that I had just finished.  Carelessly tossing that boa into my basket cost me time, work, and self-recriminations. In the scale of life, rushing into a job, a relationship, or a financial commitment can cost us that and so much more.

2. Ignoring the warning signs is not wise.  I’d had several warning signs that the feather boa was not a prudent purchase.  I chose to ignore the signs and bought it anyway. Had I not been in such a rush, I would have paid more attention to the quality of the boa and left it on the hook where it belonged.  Paying attention to the warning signs can save us a lot of time and heartache, as those warning signs are usually there for a reason.  If we choose to ignore them, we will pay the piper sooner or later.

3. Other people could be left dealing with the fallout of our decisions. Although I had tried to contain the feathers as much as I could, I left a mess at the hall. I’m sure the people cleaning it were not impressed with the feathers I left behind.  Despite our best intentions, our poorly made decisions can cost other people time, grief, and added work. Sometimes, we might not know who will fall victim to our careless decisions.  And other times, it is our family, friends, or colleagues who pay the price.

What were some of your careless decisions?  What did you learn from them?

Do you know someone who could use a gentle reminder about making good decisions? If so, send this link to him or her.  They just might thank you in the end!

About Sherry Langland

I have been teaching English for 15 years and am passionate about teaching students to read critically, think critically, and live purposefully. I am also the lead teacher for our junior high department and am thankful to be part of such a dedicated group of teachers who are committed to collaborating around the most important part of our job: student learning. My biggest blessing is being the mother of 2 young men who are in their 20s and discovering their purpose.
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