You know it’s funny… All of our friends are starting to have kids and/or already have kids and we joke around and pretend that when they grow up they’re going to get married. We say things like we’re going to arrange their marriage or we sit here and take all these cute pictures of them.
But the scary thing is at some point these kids are going to grow up and have to start make decisions on their own. It’s so insane how every single small decision you make in your life can literally have consequences and/or a ripple effect throughout time. How do you teach a child the fact that something he does when he’s seven years old, or 18 years old, or 27 years old, or 35 years old can have a lasting effect on not only him but everyone else he comes in contact with? How do you teach that to a child who right now would literally eat a Lego for dinner if I let him?
You want nothing but the best for your children and you want to help guide them so that they make the best possible decisions in their life. But how do you do that when you’re not sure about your own decisions in your own life? How do you help a child through the inquiry process that is life? How do you help a child figure out that trial and error is not always the easiest way and it’s not always going to help you get the answer that you really want?
I want to solve problems for him. I want to help him find the right puzzle piece. I want to help him turn the pages of the book when he struggles with his fine motor skills. I want to help him turn on a toy when he can’t figure out where the on/off switch is.
The thing is I’m an educator and I understand that you’re not always supposed to find the right answer… sometimes you’re supposed to find the way to the right answer. But how do you do that? How do you exactly work on the process of getting to the right decision when you’re not sure what the right decision is?
How do I decide if he should go to daycare or if I should home school him? How do I decide when something is wrong and I should contact my pediatrician? How do I decide when it’s just something developmental as opposed to something he’s actually struggling with? Where do you draw the line? where do you decide that you actually can’t make an educated decision because you’re too involved in the actual situation?
I feel like I have the knowledge and experiences to make these kind of decisions in the best interest of everyone involved but I struggle to actually “pull the trigger.” Where does experience, knowledge and book smarts stop and your heart take over? When you know something may really be wrong and you know what the right decision has to be, but you feel like you can’t actually do it?
Sometimes people say the best way to figure out what to do is to take a chance… do things that you think might bring on the best results… take a chance even though it might be against what other people are saying… do the things that deep down you know are the right things to do.
Being a parent sucks… you know why it sucks… because I can’t even make decisions for myself and I’ve had 36 years of experience in knowing what I like and what I don’t like… what works and what doesn’t work… And I still literally can’t make a decision on the most absolutely ridiculously, simplest things in life… “Do I want the dress shirt that has thin purple stripes or thick purple stripes?” That question shouldn’t take me four weeks and three returns to make… And then I have this little person in front of me who needs help… who needs me to support him in every way possible. He needs to me to make sure that he’s getting the The right amount of sleep… that he’s getting the right amount of food… that I’m choosing the right books to read to him and that we choose the right experiences for him.
I hope one day that he doesn’t feel that his parents inhibited him in his decision making… that he has the right state of mind and the right support and background to make the decisions that he knows are best for him. I hope that the decisions I make for him are going to be the best decisions possible for him… The ones that will help him develop into the person that I know he can be…. The ones that I know will help him maneuver through a world that can be so incredibly cruel, but at the same time can be so incredibly rewarding.