From the moment we wake up every morning, each one of us starts a non-stop circuit of decision-making – what to eat for breakfast, whether to go workout or not, should we shower before or after working out?
Francis Kostel followed a similar path: why did he decide to write “A Baby Boomer’s Decision Making?” As he says, “I made a decision.”
“I’ve always had a passion for lifelong learning, and I just thought one day that maybe I’ll try to write a book to help people learn. And I just started,” Kostel said.
The Edgewater resident spent about four years on his project – one year to research and the next three to “write, re-write, re-write, and re-write.” It was during the writing portion that he decided to focus on the “baby boomer” generation, to which he belongs.
“My thinking was that I’ve had my own life experiences during this time, and even though my experiences are different, there is certainly a similarity to many in my generation. I chose what schools to go to, when to start a family,” he explained.
The 220-page book outlines the decisions Kostel made throughout his life from childhood to the present, though not in a chronological order.
“As my wife has said, ‘Once you read the first page, you won’t stop,’” he said. “[I’ve heard that] it grabs people in a certain way because it’s an experience maybe many of us have gone through, but probably not exactly the same.”
Through a lifelong dedication of serving as a classroom teacher, principal, and superintendent in St. Charles, Kostel made decisions on a daily basis.
He said the topic of decision-making has always been an interest since it’s something that is so common but not always at the forefront of people’s minds.
“Every decision we make comes with two parts – how we make the decision and what we are going to do after we make that decision. Our decisions determine our life story, and while some decisions close us off from certain avenues, we just always have to decide what we are going to do next,” Kostel said.
“I’m hoping that my book can help expose some of my experiences and choices and what I did next so that those who read can say, ‘Yeah, I was in a similar situation,’ or ‘Yeah, that’s where that choice left me.’ People’s choices put into context what our next choices area, and everyone’s decision-making is driven by our individual experiences,” Kostel said.
How we understand a certain situation or idea, what relationships we might have with others, and the role of God in our lives also play the three biggest roles, he said.
“I like to throw in God because people have different views. Sometimes we say He doesn’t exist, sometimes we do, sometimes we say He’s there but not involved, and other times we think He’s at the forefront of our decisions,” Kostel said, adding that the topic of God generally comes up during darker moments, including the recent theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.
At the same time, there are external factors that can affect one’s decision-making process. Kostel revisited the Aurora shooting, citing how those in the theater made a decision to just have a good time and see what was billed as an amazing movie.
“For some, their life is over. For others, their life has changed forever. There’s just no control over how others are going to act in a given situation,” Kostel said.
For graduating high school students, one of the biggest choices to make is their post-high school plan – if they will join the military, head straight into the career world, or attend college. Kostel said it’s also natural to look back and think how one’s life would be different had they chosen the other door.
“I think it’s very natural. Natural and normal. But, as I’ve said before, the main question is that now you’ve made that choice and can’t go back, so where do you go from there? There’s no reason to agonize over some decision. This is the reality, and you have to think about what you are going to do now, what you are going to do next,” Kostel said.
“A Baby Boomer’s Decision Making” is currently available on Kostel’s website, frankostel.com, or at Townhouse Books in St. Charles. It can also be ordered through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and an e-book edition will “most likely” be available by the end of August.