Friday, May 2, 2014
My two oldest kids have surprised me with a few decisions lately, and I've been thinking about this whole process called "agency", or our ability to choose for ourselves.
As parents, we start out making a lot of decisions for our children, but if we're doing it right, in the process, we're teaching them how to think for themselves. They ultimately take this responsibility over completely. We want them to be able to do it well, right?
Cameron came to me a few weeks ago and told me that he had decided to quit football. I knew he had been thinking about it, but the finality of his decision took me aback a little. After all, he LOVES this game! He had always enjoyed playing... and he's good! He had traveled across the country to a football camp last year and was named the outstanding sophomore running back of the camp. Was he sure?! Was he going to regret this?
Greg and I first reacted by telling him to hold off on such a big decision - wait until summer. Wait until after football camp. Get back into it, and THEN decide. We were sure that once he experienced the thrill of playing again that he was going to change his mind.
He told us that he had been thinking about it even during the season last year, and then explained his reasoning. As much as he enjoys football, he loves pole vaulting more. Furthermore, as good a high school player as he is, the chances of someone his size getting to continue on in college were slim. However, with some work, he's got a really good shot at a track scholarship. To him, it wasn't worth the possibility of injuries (which happen every season, to one degree or another), and he could use the time in the fall to work on his vaulting.
Most importantly, he explained that he had been praying about it for a while and felt really comfortable with his decision. In short, he had done EVERYTHING we had always taught him to do when making big choices, and he had done it himself. At that moment, my feelings changed, and I was SO PROUD of that boy!
A few days later, I saw Ashley hard at work on some papers she had spread all over the table. I assumed it was work for her research paper I knew was due the next day. To my surprise, it was a scholarship application. I said, "Yikes! Don't you need this time to get your paper done?!" She explained that, at this point, the application was top priority. A five point deduction for a late paper was nothing compared to the potential upside of receiving another scholarship. She was right! She was prioritizing - something that has typically been hard for my girl that wants to do it all, and do it all well. Again - SO PROUD.
As I've thought about it, I've realized that what has made this all possible are the thousands of little decisions they've been allowed to make: all of the crazy independence of the toddler stage, the year Ashley decided to be a cheerleader and HATED it but had to finish the season out because she had made a commitment, all of the small answered prayers that have taught them to trust the answers they receive. It all adds up.
So maybe today I can be a little more patient with a certain little 2 year old, who lately, does not like wearing clothing and does everything in her power to avoid getting dressed.