Here I am, a 'blogger', and I have to admit that I hardly ever get around to actually reading other blogs. I personally realize how hard it is to set aside time to read articles and emails. If you're not careful one thing can lead to another and your time is gone. It is refreshing though to be able to find answers to questions, a quick recipe or needed encouragement at your fingertips though. Before blogging we had to subscribe to a quarterly print magazine or earlier when internet became available for a monthly email newsletter. Once it came I was usually ready to get something hot to drink and curl up on the couch to read every single page. Sometimes I think it would be nice to subscribe to paper again...
First, let me give due credit to Michelle at Building Family Connection for her post on Honoring the Choices our Children Make. I really appreciated seeing her tackle a topic I've been struggling with and have seen so many mothers seem to overlook or (I'm sure unintentionally) disregard.
Next, let me clarify that it is very important when raising younger children that we severely limit their choices. Some children are naturally indecisive or happy to have things decided for them. Some children are more stubborn or opinionated and want their own choice in EVERYTHING by the time they figure out how to point! When children are little they should be given little choices like, "Which dress would you like to wear today? The pink one or the blue one?" This is a good heart test for little ones because if they are always happy to pick one of the choice given maybe they need to be encouraged to be adventurous every once in a while and asked, "Or maybe you'd rather wear the yellow today?" If the child is constantly asking for something OTHER than what's been offered then you can suspect there is a heart issue that might be dealt with. It's a simple exercise that helps teach and show honor and respect.
As our children grow they should be given more and more free choices, still under careful guidance. As long as my children are still in school I never give them a choice of reading ANY book they might be interested in. I'm very careful about what they read or watch. The older they get, the more I will explain WHY I prefer they do or not do certain things. I almost always have a Biblical reason to back up my preference, so it's not just my desires but the Authority I am under as well. This way they learn that even I have allowed myself to be under God's authority in my choices.
Once our children are graduated I loosen up tremendously. Sometimes it's very scary and I do worry. Most of the time I will explore with them. I will go to movies I didn't previously agree with seeing and read books and listen to music I wouldn't have even considered before. The reason I participate is so I can discuss with them what each of us like or dislike, agree or disagree with. I try not to be critical, though I'm sure I don't always succeed. I try to REALLY listen to their enthusiasm. I try to keep my cautions to a minimum. Thankfully we have taught our children well enough that they tend to be very critical themselves. They have been used to everything measure by God's Word all their lives, so they are already in the habit and do it themselves without thinking. Together we have learned a lot about HIM that we probably would not have known had I not been willing to venture with them.
There will always be some things we don't agree with our children about. (I will never see the Twilight movies as entertaining... yuck!) Our children do completely understand that drugs and alcohol are never welcome in our home without a prescription or herbal recipe and are to be used strictly as prescribed. They also know if they ever land themselves in jail, I will take the call but they WILL spend the night. They know they are free to choose, but also expected to pay whatever consequences for bad decisions. They also know I will be here to talk to through each mistake, failure, & frustration in their lives as well as each success. THAT is what mothers are for.
We need to prepare ourselves for our children's individualities and imperfections and not box them into our personal expectations. Mothers, we will be blessed as our children move into adulthood if we practice honoring out children's choices along the way.
Leave me a comment below about your personal experience in honoring (or struggling to honor) your children. I'd love to here your thoughts! Also make sure to visit Building Family Connection for Michelle's post on Honoring the Choices our Children Make.