A Beginner’s Guide to Making Choices that Matter by Monique Bucheger











Today, I’d like to talk about choices: Ones we make deliberately and ones we allow to be made for us—and how each can impact us.

The 4th through 8th grade or “middle grades” are extremely important years in everybody’s lives. These are the formative years when kids realize that life outside of their family home can be very different from what they are used to.

New ideas and concepts are pondered; new strategies to deal with the good, the bad, and the frustrating are explored—and experimented with.

Personal ethics and codes of behavior are tried on for size and comfort—often tailored and adjusted to fit the whims of peer pressure—good and bad.

Kids learn about who they are or what they want to be known as, and spend a lot of time trying to make others see them as they want to be seen or adapt their self-image to reflect what they see in other peoples’ eyes.

This can be positive or negative—depending on who is doing the accepting and / or rejecting of ideas and concepts.

We all remember the cliché kids: the class clown, the nerd, the bully, the bullied, the overachiever, the underachiever, the geek, the jock, the oddball, the social, the prep, the kid everybody liked, and the one who never quite fit in anywhere, but desperately wanted to.

Perhaps we were one or more of them—or another cliché student—either mixed up or altogether different at some point in our career as middle-grade students.

There comes a time when each person needs to make determinations about who they are, who they want to be, and take the steps to be that person.

This exploration and defining of our core self (of who we are and who we want to be and what that person looks like) becomes earnest and most important in our middle-grade years. This process is often the biggest foundation and shaper of our future self.

Children who are blessed with positive influences and a belief in their inherent goodness, travel through these formative years less scathed than children who are told they are worthless, and those who have the sad misfortune to believe such an atrocious lie.

Until Oct 1st, my friend, James A. Owen has given this link to allow his book: “Drawing Out the Dragons” FREE (a $19.99 value). He is highly sought after as a speaker for middle school audiences.

James is a supremely talented artist, and internationally bestselling author, and a superb human being—a self-proclaimed “Awesomist”—one who seeks to bring out the best in others and shares hard learned insights to bring light to other peoples’ lives.

I bring this up because a big part of the reason James is as successful as he is today is because he made courageous decisions about who he wanted to be as a middle-grade student.

Because we Emblazoner Authors are all about middle-graders—I wanted to take this opportunity to share this amazing book and it’s incredible insights to the audience it was meant to influence most: Tweens and young teens. (and it is only FREE for the next week.)

When he was 11, James spent several months in a hospital pretty certain he was going to die—three of his young roommates did die within a month of his admission to the hospital.

Doctors didn’t know what was wrong with him; they only knew he was becoming sicker as time went by. At age 11, James had decisions to make about what his future would—and should—hold. Believing he didn’t have much of a future—quite possibly only weeks or months, James fast-tracked those decisions with actions so that he could make the most of the time he had left.

The top banner on the cover of “Drawing out the Dragons” says: A Beginner’s Guide to Making Choices that Matter. This is a profound concept because quite often—even adults allow things to happen to them rather than be heroes in their own lives by making deliberate choices to be the best person they can be.

To be a hero in your own life, each person needs to take a stand and become the wind—rather than the leaf—that is buffeted about by the wind.

Making deliberate choices about how you live your life, and what you do on your personal journey here on earth directly affects your influence on what happens to you and how you affect those around you.

Two powerful messages that James repeats in his book are:

 If you really want to do something, no one can stop you.

But if you really don’t want to do something, no one can help you.


Never, ever, sacrifice what you want the most,

for what you want the most at that moment. 


Think about these messages a minute.

To further quote James:

“All good things happen . . . In Time.”

Choices are cumulative, but the results are not always apparent, or immediate. Sometimes you just have to keep making the right choices, even if it seems there’s no benefit to doing so.

Sooner or later, there will come a moment when what you really want most is tested, and how you respond in that moment will reveal the culmination of your choices. 

At that defining moment, his second message becomes truly powerful:

Never, ever, sacrifice what you want the most,

for what you want the most at that moment. 

It is my hope that the Tweens and others who read this post realize how important it is to make deliberate choices as to who they want to be and learn to believe in themselves and their dreams because truly:

 If you really want to do something, no one can stop you.

But if you really don’t want to do something, no one can help you.

So go forward and make informed choices–your future self will thank you.

Laugh lots … Love much …Write on!
















12 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Making Choices that Matter by Monique Bucheger

  1. I love James’ book! I bought extra copies to give to people when I find out they’re going through a difficult trial. My hope is that it will inspire them as it inspired me in my own trial!

    1. I have bought several of his books as well, Shauna. He is truly an inspiring person. I have been privileged to see his “Drawing out the Dragon” presentation live twice. All’s I have to say about that is “Wow! Just Wow!” 🙂

  2. Thought-provoking post, Monique. I love the two quotes you highlighted. So true! And I love free books, lol. This one sounds like a good one. Thanks!

    1. Mari–

      I love the idea of a class called “Deliberate Choices.” Thank goodness James has written a book for the curriculum. 🙂 And everybody can be encouraged to add their own defining moments. 😉

      His other 2 meditations books will be on sale next month. Normally I wouldn’t link non-Emblazoner things here–but you might want to check out James’ newest FB page: https://www.facebook.com/awesomistrevolution

      The things he posts there are too good not to share with the people we care about. The things he teaches helps every one of us in all we do as authors, readers, parents, teachers, and just being part of the human experience. Bringing out the best in others is a gift to and from each of us.

  3. Monique,
    Wonderful post. I love the points you highlighted. Tweens is a tough time for so many kids and these are the things they need to learn but often don’t. The book and presentations sound really great and important. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Erik. I’d love to know what you think about “Drawing Out the Dragons.” James son is your age. He’s a great kid and doing awesome things like you. I caught your Youtube video interview with Rick Riordan–I was really impressed with you and Felicia. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *