Friday, October 11, 2013

FIDO (Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations) and choices

My son text'd me with the most amazing news today. His wearable computing group project (FIDO) was presented in a paper to the International Symposium on Wearable Computing in Zurich and it WON FIRST PLACE!!!!

Of course, I'm the mom and I'm pretty sure they could not have done it without Ryan the Wonder  Boy. Oops. He's 21 now. Ryan the Wonder Man. Anyway, I am totally thrilled for him and the rest of the group. And for the professors, of course.  I'm also (without a doubt) delighted about how it will dress up his resume/CV when job hunting starts in earnest.

Like any helpful mama would, I've been thinking of all kinds of things they could do for their next project. I suggested a collar for my cows to move them from one pasture to another by remote control, especially in rainy weather. Ryan is far too practical to indulge my silliness, and he has given me a full list of all the reasons why it's not a good project.  When I grumbled, just a little, he told me, "It wouldn't be buzzword compliant, but it would be easier to set up an outdoor loud speaker in each field and train them to that." Training them to move is not the issue. Rattling a bucket of feed works really well. So does whistling and yelling, "Come on girls."  Even Maggie the Wonder Dog can move the cows, which is a fairly amazing feat. Loudspeakers, buckets, and hollering, however, are not at all cool.  I want something edgy and exciting.

That desire for edgy and exciting has  made me an innovator who is not afraid to try something new. It doesn't all work, but it often does. Generally speaking, it's been a good thing.

It has, unfortunately, gotten me in more trouble over the years than I am willing to admit. (I was young and stupid once, too.) It is one thing to try something a different way because the usual way isn't working or isn't filling the need. Doing something just because it seems taboo and exciting is totally different, and often just plain dumb.

Listening to the advice of those older and wiser could have saved me a world a woe. But I often didn't. Obeying the truth in Scripture (where consequences are clearly explained) would have taken me a different direction. But, for years, I wouldn't. Being young and invincible, I didn't expect consequences to come my way, or for choices to take a toll. But they do, and they did.

Proverbs 14:12 pretty much sums the problem up. "There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." (NASB) The crazy thing is, sometimes the way seems wrong, and we take it anyway. How dumb is that?

That brings me back, as usual, to making choices and how those choices affect us and the ones we love. Here is your chance to consider whether the choices you make are wise and leading to the life you want, or the edgy, exciting, probably shouldn't kind of choice that will only bring grief and trouble in the end. Choices are not optional, but dumb ones are. The question tonight is whether or not you will make choices that bring you closer to the life God intended for you.

All these years after my stupidness, my son is giving advice, and, believe it or not, I'm paying attention. Even more surprising, I'm doing what he recommended. Forget the loudspeaker though. I'm sticking with a bucket and a hearty holler.