Friday, April 20, 2007

The Paradox of Choice


I thought that getting laid out for days by a fever would have meant that I could have done some reading and blogging but no, the three draft posts are like pot smoking poetry - good only to the writer.

Here is a quick post as I come out of the haze. Finished this book last week and used it below. Lot's of interesting things here. (My friend/colleague J.P. sent me this link if video is more your gig.)

Vocation - Since being convinced by Miroslav Volf that our understanding of vocation is more rooted in the 16th Century than the Bible, and that the largely static society of the Reformation is not a good model for young people thinking about what they should do with their life, I've been on the look out for folks who will support me. Schwartz does indirectly. If the only choice that you have is between marriage and celibacy, your father's profession or the priesthood then you are unlikely to choose the priesthood unless you know a good priest. We don't tend to choose things that we don't know anything about because we are risk averse. It follows then that teens that do not have much 'social capital' and therefore do not know that they have choices will tend to make the same choices as their parent(s). This is not entirely negative given that the other extreme, the 'helicopter parent' who hovers around their kid, offering so many choices that the youth has no idea what to do, can be debilitating. 'Helicopter parents' are maximizers using Schwartz's language and fall into many, many pitfalls when it comes to making choices.

The church, in response to this, should do two things. One, for those youth who do not see choices, present them. Two, for those youth overwhelmed by choice, help in discerning the real choices amidst the masses.

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