Which do you like better?
Being presented with options is a true luxury. Being asked, “What do you want for dinner?” is often lamented by husbands (and my sons) as a horrible burden: “Don’t make me decide that! I don’t know!”
Ah……but isn’t this great training for life? Such an easy choice to begin your education! How do you go wrong? So, maybe you end up eating something you realize later you didn’t really want…..but failure to make a choice doesn’t result in you going hungry. The consequence of your opinionlessness is that someone else decides for you. The inquiry isn’t “Do you want tacos or hamburgers? If you don’t pick you go hungry.” The inquiry isn’t a culinary firing squad, it is an invitation to sharing a life and accepting your responsibility for it. If you can’t decide what you want to put in your belly….such a trivial event that repeats itself every single evening….what hope is there for decisiveness on the big stuff? If you abdicate the minor decisions to the chef (or mother)…..where is the rope line, the cut off? All decisions below this line are minor and I direct you, as my mother (or wife) to make them for me. It is my experience that the rope line is not a fixed position. Which means active participation in life is variable, relative and occurs only when the risk ratio is deemed to be low or you just get a fanciful whim.
It is the burden of the “Decider” to always make the decisions and take the responsibility for them. If you don’t care about dinner, then don’t complain. If you didn’t vote, the you don’t get to whine about the govenor or the president or the meatloaf. Retrospectively, your opinion is just weightless……but boy, can it make the “Decider” feel BAD. When we ask what you want and you say you don’t care and we decide (still factoring in what we know you might want) and then you complain that our efforts are….well, not satisfactory….it hurts.
Every evening of my childhood before dinner, my mother asked my father…..”What would you like to drink?” He delegated his choice to her. In his defense, my father ate whatever was place before him. As a child, I don’t recall him complaining. But as a mother….I know my sons complain.
I ask about their dinner preferences and they delegate…..but oh, they will complain. And honestly….I want them to complain. When they balk at their dinner offerings, I have the stage to teach them the power they relinquish with the three words, “I don’t care.” It is obvious that they DO care….after the meal is presented. So…as a mother I want to teach them to SPEAK UP. When someone asks your opinion HAVE ONE. It is the first steps into adulthood. Teaching them to have opinions doesn’t mean they will be opinionated. Knowing your desires is fundamental to living a life….a life you own. A delightful life springs from free will and the successful attainment of free made choices. It starts with picking your breakfast cereal, the contents of your lunch box, your deodorant, your sneakers, your bedtime, your music downloads, your hair cuts, your first car, your first love, your college course of study…all the choices add up to a LIFE. If you live a childhood where someone else dictates your options, limits your free will…you are ill prepared for the real world. Quickly, you will attach yourself to someone who will easily make your adult decisions for you as well…..and soon enough, you have live decades without a voice, without choice and essentially without a life. (Not YOUR LIFE; you’ve lived a life someone else picked for you because you didn’t care)
Some days I wish for someone else to pick for me. I wish this upon a falling star but know truly…in my heart…I am incapable of abdication. It is the true gift of my child rearing. My parents raised INDEPENDENT children. We think and choose. We make decisions. We suffer the consequences…but those failures are by our own choices. We are not indentured, surrendered to another person’s mandates. And it is a heavy burden some days. But it is MY life.
God gave me free will. My parents taught me how to use it.