Choices. Part of what we do as humans, adults and parents is make choices. As parents we are in a unique position when our children are young. We are given the responsibility of making choices for them.
Some of the choices seem fairly easy for me. Things like picking out my kids clothes and making healthy food choices. Choosing how much TV to let my kids watch and how late they get to stay up.
(Note: Especially during a season when we look to give, remember that even these things vary among families. For those in difficult financial situations food and clothes can be tough choices to face.)
Some choices send me into a whirlwind. What choice should we make when it comes to our children’s education (public, private, homeschool or something else and when do we send them, preschool, 1st grade…) ? Is there a right age/stage/time to enroll our kids is “extra” activities (is 6 weeks of 4yr old basketball too much, maybe not enough, should we enroll our son in a non-sport activity so he’s more well rounded…)?
Tough choices push me (and my husband) to really take a deeper look at our values, our children and the people we are made to be.
Recently, I have become so grateful for the tough choices we are facing as a family. They have prompted my husband and I to have some great conversations, they have convicted me to really turn to prayer for guidance and most of all they have reminded me of how unique each of our children are.
We will all face tough choices and they will not all be the same. However, here are some thoughts to consider when wrestling with tough choices and our children…
1. Is this a short term or long term choice? Some situations only affect a short time span while some situations and their outcomes may last longer. It has helped me to categorize each situation. I can then spend less time on the short term situations and focus more on the longer term situations. All choices are important, some just deserve more time than others.
2. Does my child have an opinion in the matter? I’m only focusing on choices that concern our small children. (I hope to train my older children to make some of these choices for themselves or at least be making choices alongside them.)
However, even our small children might have thoughts or opinions on the circumstances they find themselves in. I am always amazed at what my son reveals to me in casual conversation when we are playing a game or doing an art project. Having listening ears can be very helpful when it comes to decision making on our child’s behalf.
3. Does this affect my child’s eternity? Some situations and choices are simply choices. Our child will live through them whatever we choose and one outcome is not any better than another. However, there are some choices that absolutely affect our child’s life beyond this one.
For those parents walking in faith and hope that their child will love, honor and serve God our choices should be based in that core value. When making these choices we always start by asking “How will the choice affect how my child loves God and loves others?”. By answering this question we are better able to face the touch choices with a whole hearted mindset.
Face the tough choices. When we struggle with tough choices we learn more not only about our children and our values but also about us. It is a gift!
What tough choices are you facing today? What one thing can you do to move toward resolution? Any tips or suggestions for other moms?