Here is an example of decision making in life:
Doug: "Where do you want to eat?"
Me: "I don't know."
Doug: "There is Mexican, Italian, Seafood, Chinese..."
Me: "Um...I don't know."
Doug: "What do you feel like eating? Any cravings?"
Me: "Um, nope. I don't know. You decide."
Doug: "Okay, decide between Mexican or Italian. Which do you want?"
Now, since he narrowed it down, I can usually go through the process of "we ate Mexican last week, so let's try Italian." Sometimes. But other times, I just want to eat. And I don't really care. And what would you like? Really, which would YOU prefer, my dearest other half? This is not me being sacrificial. This is me really asking you to tell me where I'm going to eat. I'll be happier. I'll be safer. I'll be empowered by your love for me.
And for goodness sake, we'll get to eat faster since my mind obviously isn't working.
Well, I am the parent of a toddler and I don't know if it is because she is a female toddler or because she is an occasionally grouchy/hungry/sleepy/the-gravitational-pull-of-the-moon-removed-her-normally-cheerful-self toddler, but offering her these choices often results in a far bigger hullabaloo than I really want to figure out how to deal with.
Some good friends reminded me today that when giving a toddler choices, only give two choices - her little brain will become boggled otherwise.
*Me thinking* "Okay, Mexican, Italian, Seafood, Chinese...? I guess that makes all others an option as well? Is he saying fast food, too? What about a steak house? Good grief, what about the Wal-Mart deli??"
Likewise, sometimes Charissa can't decide and instead of telling me "Which would you like, Mom?" This is usually what happens:
Me: "Do you want your flower boots or Croc-ees?"
Me: "Okay! We'll wear the croc-ees today." *begins putting them on*
Charissa: "NO! I want my FOWER BOOTS!"
Me: "But you just said you wanted your crocs! Okay, you want to wear your boots?"
Charissa: "YEAH!" *angered voice"
Me: "Okay, fine. We'll wear boots." *looks at clock* "Alrighty! We're all ready! Let's go."
Charissa: *kicks off boots and begins to exhale rapidly through her nose* (this means trouble)
Me: "What's wrong????" *sigh - looking at clock*
Charissa: "I wanna wear my CROC-EES!"
Me: "But you just said...!!!"
And so it goes. By the time we're finally out the door I'm irritated and Charissa is in tears and for pity's sake - what just happened?? Is she schizophrenic???
No. She's just (almost) three. And sometimes (a lot of the time), she needs guidance.
So I've decided, choices are okay - some of the time. But if it's looking like that choice might take a very involved hour and we don't have an hour or she's really just power playing (recall, dropping the spoon off the high chair? Yes? Same thing) or she's grouchy/hungry/sleepy/the-gravitational-pull-of-the-moon-removed-her-normally-cheerful-self, then her first choice stands. The Crocs it is - period. Even though it occasionally results in carrying a kicking, screaming toddler to the car under one arm and the crocs in the other hand. (That has never happened to you, right?)
But sometimes, I don't even give her a choice. She's wearing her boots outside. It's muddy and I'm not washing her shoes. If the child psychiatrist would like to come wash her shoes and jeans, be my guest. But until then, she's wearing boots. Or, she's sitting on the time-out chair thinking about obeying and wearing boots. Sometimes, these choices are far more important concerning her safety ("No, you may not walk on the icy pond.") and her health (Yes, you are going to eat you dinner before ice cream.")
I guess I could just say "I'm the Mama that's why!" but it goes deeper than that. She's (almost) three. She isn't about to go and buy a home or move to Europe. She hasn't even mastered going to the potty unassisted. I don't expect that of her. Until she does become the beautiful, strong-willed, independent lady that I know she will be, I'm the authority figure. Not her buddy, not her maid, not her person that makes brownies and let's her eat the batter with a spoon...
|Well, I guess I might fall into those categories, too.|
I am her mother. God gave her to me not just so I can boss her around (or for her to boss me around) but for me to help guide her in making decisions and sometimes, that means making them for her or teaching her to stick to her word.
I pray that I am a leader she respects and loves. Even more, I pray that she will know God in that same way and see that He's my leader, too. It's a tall order as a parent. In fact, it's impossible on my own. Thankfully, I'm not on my own :-)
Someday when she is on her own and buying a home or moving to Europe, I pray she will know Who to ask for help. That she will know that she is never just on her own. She will have choices, but I pray she will seek answers from Someone far wiser than me.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,
who gives generously to all without reproach,
and it will be given him."
|"See Mama? Day match!"|
(Sometimes when I don't even give her a choice, she surprises me.
She even accessorizes. And that she did NOT learn from her dear, 'ol Mom!)