C.H.O.O.S.E is the acrostic for a teaching tool we can use when equipping children to make wise choices. I learned it from my friend Linda Sibley, who is happy I’m sharing it through these posts.

  • C = Claim the problem
  • H = How many choices do I have?
  • O = Own and use your moral compass
  • O = One choice to try
  • S = See it through
  • E = Evaluate the results

mazeClaim the Problem — Two important words to remember

  1. Claim the PROBLEM tells us life is full of problems we solve by deciding what to do about them. Some problems are easy and some are hard, but problems are just a part of life. Everyone has them.
  2. CLAIM the problem tells us the place to start is to face up to whatever problems come our way. Sometimes we don’t want to face something, so we pretend it is not there. We hope if we ignore it, it will just go away. Unfortunately, problems don’t “just go away” by themselves. Facing up to them (claiming) is the first step to resolving them.

Sounds easy, but some problems are harder to claim than others and we might feel afraid of them, like

  • getting in trouble with mom or dad or your teacher
  • losing a friend
  • looking dumb in front of other people

broken windowIt’s okay to be afraid when we have to claim a difficult problem. It’s not okay to make an unwise choice just because we’re scared. It’s okay to be scared to tell dad that you were the one who broke the window—who wouldn’t be scared to do that? But choosing to lie about it or blame someone else is not claiming your problem.

So what can a kid do when you have a problem to face up to and you’re scared?

You can remember that claiming your problem is always better than running away from it. And don’t forget to ask for help if you need it!

Conversation starters:

  • woman and coffee cupHow do I know when I should ask for help with a problem I am facing? (when you feel scared, confused, or just want to talk)
  • Who can I ask for help? (Be sure every child has a list of at least 5 sources of help. Their lists could include, friends, relatives, counselors, teachers, coaches, clergy, etc.)
  • Write a list:
    • …Older children may have a personal device on which they have a “List” category. Guide them in entering names and phone numbers of those on their personal Helpers List.
    • …Younger children will need help writing out names and numbers and deciding on a safe place to keep their list. The list for children who can’t read will be actual photos of trusted adults they can turn to for help.
  • Keep a family Gratitude Journal in which you record instances when the family received help (including possibly God’s) when they faced a hard problem.

Tweetable: So what’s a kid to do when you have a problem to face up to and you’re scared? Some ideas here. Click to Tweet