Making Personal Decisions

When looking at another person’s ability, whether it be a decision on who to hire, or who to choose as a leader or as a friend, I look at how my experience kind of “matches up” with that person. I also consider myself as one who likes to work hard; more importantly, to work smart. So, does this other person also like to work smart?

When looking at another person’s ability, I look at how they can be engaged to help me solve things, to bring a solution to many of the challenges of life I face. I often ask others to help me find a solution. I know that we can learn from each other, so we don’t have to start or do something that we’ve already done. This, I believe, is called “re-inventing the wheel.” As a Priest, I respond to others who ask my counsel, from a spiritual, even theological perspective, for a solution to a problem or dilemma.

When looking at another person’s ability, I think about how they can take something complex and make it easy for me to understand. Remember, I like to work smart, and not necessarily hard! You know, as a Social Worker, I have many years of experience helping others to problem-solve. Part of the effectiveness of my professional practice is about my ability to facilitate problem-solving with my own problems in mind.

Kababayan, when you look at another person’s ability, can you understand who they are by “walking in their shoes?” Can you be empathetic, seeing the other as one just like you? Interestingly enough, I find this very challenging, i.e. to show empathy, warmth and compassion. I pray about this often, especially when, in my selfish thinking, I see myself as more important that the other.

With empathy—seeing the other person as you see yourself—comes the ability to see another person and what they do or stand for, as not interfering with who you are, your own ability, personality and independence. As much as I don’t want to control others, I certainly don’t want them to control me; I want them to walk with me! “I am who I am” and I want others to respect me, in every way.
As a Priest, I would like to be a part of a community that understands that “we’re all in this together,” i.e. that there is a common good, where all our abilities are seen as important to building community, to having a quality of life, which we share and nurture with each other. Thus, in a real sense, one’s selfish need to gain more than others or to leave out those who are unable or have an inability to gain or obtain, thus diminishing their quality of life, should never be a way to discern or decide what is to be “good for all.” Is this other person’s ability about a shared quality of life?

When looking at another person’s ability, do you see yourself, in who they are? Does the other have a desire to make things better, to work, perhaps like yourself, to build community in which you would like to live and contribute your own desire to make things better? Do you understand, clearly understand the other, so that truth is shared and built. I see “truth” as something, a reality that has to be found and lived. Another person’s ability to help you find and live the truth can be a daily prayer for each of us to say.

When looking at another person’s ability, do you see courage; the courage to make decisions and to live life in a way that builds up your own courage and ability to live a full life? I have several courageous individuals in my life. They all have one thing in common, i.e. to make a decision and to live, fully live, with the consequences of their decision. More importantly, they have morality; the ability to know what is right and what is wrong and always see goodness and mercy.
Kababayan, are you looking at another person’s ability? I encourage you to keep looking, to keep deciding, with these abilities in mind, which will then keep you moving towards fulfilling a life well lived with an ability to see the truth in others and in yourself!!

Have an idea or a comment or even a question? Contact me at this email address: So, until next time, take care!

Rev. John A. Hau’oli Tomoso † is a Social Worker and Episcopal Priest. He is a Priest Associate at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Wailuku and an on-call Chaplain at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Tomoso was graduated from St. Anthony Jr./Sr. High School, the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota (Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology) and Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (Masters of Social Work). In 2008, he retired from the civil service as the Maui County Executive on Aging. Tomoso is currently the Executive Director of the non-profit Tri-Isle Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. His wife Susan is a 7th grade Language Arts Teacher at Maui Waena Intermediate School.