In life, we are confronted with a steady stream of choices to make. Many of these are minor and of little significance. But the big ones, the really significant decisions can be life-changing. (unpacking prompt)These are the choices between important rights and wrongs, between what we know to be morally correct and ethical versus pathways leading us over to the dark side. It is also not always clear cut (point 1)what we should decide and these big" decisions require us to agonize over what our course of action will be. We know also that there will be consequences (point 2)not always positive and often not just for ourselves but for those who are dear to us.
As the character of Atticus Finch recognizes in "To Kill a Mockingbird"", cases such as defending negro Tom Robinson against the charge of rape in his home town of Maycombe "come along once in a lifetime" (link to text/quote)and there is no turning away from such moments. Atticus knows deep down (point 1) that he has to represent the wrongly accused man even though he will be forever despised as a "nigger lover" by the bigots in his community. The decision to act on Robinson's behalf is the only option open to Atticus if he is to be able to hold his head up high and have his children respect him in the future (unpacking the decision in terms of the prompt).
The extent of the racist backlash against his involvement in the case is not surprising to him, nor unexpected but what distresses him most is the way his two children are exposed to the ugly racism (point 2). There is the frightening scene outside the jail when Scout's child-like questioning defuses an ugly confrontation with the would-be vigilante gang. Furthermore, what Atticus doesn't anticipate at all, is that his children would be nearly murdered by the evil Bob Ewell.
When we make significant choices in life they define us as people for better or for worse. There is no turning back and the consequences are not always positive even when we try to do the right thing according to our consciences.