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Making choices when we have no choice

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Young underprivileged boy smiling


Today, I learnt the true meaning of to have and make choices.


Rarely at home when the local grocery store’s delivery boy brings provisions to our home, I was about to step out today when the door bell rang. When I opened the door, I met a young boy with large expressive eyes speaking good English and exhibiting a culture far above his presumed station in life.


On learning that he did not go to school, I immediately wanted to know why he had dropped out. From previous experience, I am aware of little boys in the area holding down light part-time jobs to supplement the family income especially when a widow is trying to bring up a family. So I am careful before pressing the Child Labour Alarm button but make it a point to talk to their employers to ensure that they are paid the minimum wage and not exploited. I learnt a long time ago that these children have the choice of helping their parents and keeping on the straight road or going down the wrong alley. I respect their decisions but stay protective. They all attend school in the morning. This one did not.


On our way to the elevator, I gently asked a few questions.  It had become clear to me at our doorstep that the young boy did not like to talk about himself but I needed to know why the word ‘school’ had brought a sad look into those otherwise bright eyes.


Slowly I learnt that at the time of his sister’s wedding, his father had taken a huge loan from local lenders which had to be paid off. Faced with dire economic consequences, the father had taken him out of a private school and his studies had ceased after the third grade. The little boy proudly told me that they had paid off half the amount and with a bit more effort the balance would be paid off too.


The loan amount was equal to the price of the latest entry model of Honda in the market.   


My humbling moment came when this child told me that he intended to resume his education someday and make something of himself. He revealed that on his own initiative he had managed to get second hand books and self-tutor himself at the level where he would have been in school without the interruption.  He comes home at 9 pm at night, studies for an hour, has his dinner and then goes to sleep.


I intend to help him without hurting his self-respect and hope that he continues to be determined to fulfill his dreams.


Often, Life puts us in circumstances where our roads are chosen for us and we have no choices.


The need of the hour prevails. 


Yet, we do have the choice of how we wish to deal with the situation and find some way of keeping our dreams alive.

Just like the delivery boy.

How do you deal with changed circumstances?

How do you feel about changes in your life, career or business? Do you choose to resist or adapt to keep your dream alive?


You can learn more about your approach to change and coping skills with this simple quiz Fearing Change or Confident to Win Challenges? based on the modern fable Who Moved My Cheese by Stuart Johnson MD.


Karmic Ally Coaching Quiz on Change Management


Written By: Vatsala Shukla

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One Response to “Making choices when we have no choice”

  1. Prema says:

    A valuable teaching, especially the final four words—keeping our dreams alive, as they will live on by our gardening them.
    Your fellow traveler,

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