Maturation and Choice

Since we only give to our children those things that we perceive to be good for them, then it follows that we see choice as a good thing. As we (well, maybe not you specifically but, “We” collectively, as the group called “Parents” ) are now-a-days giving children the power of choice in ever widening contexts and at earlier ages.

Of course, “too much of a good thing is – not good” (I leave to you the exercise of listing your own examples for buy-in on this popularly accepted paradox). Perhaps “too much” is
asking children whether or not they want to work hard on mathematics and science, or any other skill development for that matter. Even older, well seasoned people generally need external support when it comes to deciding what knowledge and skills to develop, and how much work is required input.

Decision Training

Nevertheless, having opportunities to make choices can help train a person in a vital life-skill -- decision-making. For this reason, some types of formal decision training are utilized in industry, the military, and professional sports.


Often, such training is provided under highly
controlled conditions. The decision training utilizes hypothetical and simulated situations, with expert feedback and review included after the simulations. Such methodology mitigates the high consequences of bad decisions during the extreme-novice-period of the pupil. The student maturates while the organization’s investment is conserved.


Allowing relative novices to make decisions in real-time, where the consequences of bad decisions are potentially long-lasting is often referred to as Trial-by-Fire. Such approach can also be a vital part of a pupil’s training program and for many real situations the adequate maturation of skills requires that the student “give it a shot”, even while the potential for disaster is still relatively high. The hope is, of course, that all turns out OK.

You Are the Trainer

Thusly, when we give our children the
power of decision, our decision goes beyond simply a) “to give the power” or b) “to not give the power”.

We also, deliberately or implicitly, choose the training style that these novices are experiencing: 1) Controlled, or 2) Trail-by-Fire, or 3) a Hybridization of these two extremes.

Some mundane choice examples:
To go to bed at a certain hour; or to not go to bed at a certain hour.
To do your homework or; to not do your homework.
To dress to a certain code or; to not dress to a certain code.
To speak respectfully; or to not speak respectfully.
To pierce; or not to pierce.

My experience, has led me to believe that in the decisions directly effecting knowledge and skill development that less is more, i.e. generally favoring options (b) and (a.1) above.

Happy training!