My all-time favorite seven-letter word: C-H-O-I-C-E-S.

A friend recently said, "Wayne, you have changed over the last three years." I began thinking about it and yes, I have changed. I am more positive about my past and my present situation than I was three years ago. My general outlook on life has changed.

But how have I changed? Why have I changed?

I thought for a while. I realized that a seven-letter word has changed me. A word I have a greater respect for today than I did three years ago. A word I always thought was important (mostly in principle), but a word I actually stopped fully believing in. The word: CHOICES.

In life we have choices. From the mundane choice of which cereal to eat for breakfast, to life changing choices: what will I study in college, how many children should we have, where should we move to, in whom should I place my faith?

We are largely a product of our choices. The choices I made when I was 16 (decision to follow Christ), at 18 (moving across the Atlantic to study in Texas), at 23 (moving to Shanghai to teach and lead), at 24 (coming back to Dallas to complete my master's degree) and many, many other choices (small and large) are having a DIRECT impact on my life today. No doubt about it. Absolutely, no doubt.

We get the choice EVERYDAY to decide whether we are going to make the day (in general) good, great, or just plain boring/bad. "Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours." This is one of my mantras. This is something I try to live by. I have boring/bad days, but I have far more good and great days. Not because I dodge trouble, but because I try not to let struggles, stress, and problems get me down. "I get knocked down, but I get up again." I choose to make a day great. This important choice is very often the MOST DIFFICULT DECISION OF MY DAY. And making it a great day is full of other choices to make moments in the day great. Make it a great play time with my kids, the choice is mine. Make it a great meal time with my family, the choice is mine.

I went through some major trials in one of my work places in Texas, but I came out learning a powerful lesson: I can choose to remain positive when everything around me screams for me to be a negative, complaining, grumpy man.

My first school in China taught me that children have better days when they start the day believing that they can make their day great. We need to remind our students of this truth EVERYDAY. 

At my current school I continue to learn that being a Christian doesn't mean being perfect OR always being happy. We make a bad choice and we learn from it. God forgives us. We confess, repent, tie our bootlaces up again, and jump back into the battle to fight the good fight of making every day matter.

Let's choose to make today a great day.

With something to think about,

Mr. Russell

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