preventable problems

I have been accused of fixating. Most of the time that I come across a problem, I spend a little too much time wondering how the problem could have been avoided. I usually talk about what should have happened rather that how the problem can now be solved. Some examples: car accidents caused by people who were texting while driving; sunburn from going to the beach without sun block; a hangover from drinking too much. The solutions to these problems, or rather the preventions, are very obvious. Do I fixate on prevention? Guilty as charged.

I wonder what percentage of problems are avoidable. I would not be shocked to learn that a good 75% of our issues wouldn’t be issues if we had made better choices. Most marital problems can be avoided: Choose the right person to marry, practice good communication skills and always respect the other person and many of our relationship problems never arise. Some financial issues can be averted ahead of time: Don’t spend more than you make and bankruptcy is never a consideration. Even some health problems could be headed off if wise decisions are made: Don’t smoke and you live longer.

Now I wonder what percentage of my time is spent dealing with problems that could have been avoided. Do I spend half of my day trying to solve something that never should have happened? Yes, on many days! If fact, a large part of my responsibility is to help people through tough times that they created!

From a life-stewardship point of view, it may be helpful if we think in terms of prevention. How will the decisions I am making today affect my future. What future problems can I avoid by making good choices today? I know it sounds elementary, but you would be surprised how few people process life this way.

I am not minimizing the crises of life. I am saying, God gives us some wisdom, let’s use it. I hope I am not coming across hard-hearted and totally void of mercy. That is not the case. I just think we all would be much happier and could spend our time on more productive things if we would simply think things out a little ahead of time. Then maybe we could all work together on solving some of the world’s problems that are not so avoidable.

OK, I tried to avoid it but I just have to say it, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” (Ben Franklin)

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