Recently both my girls had to make decisions about honoring commitments. One was in a group that got embroiled in drama and was almost disbanded. The other found out a group she is interested in joining next year was holding practices while she was already committed to another group.
My general belief is that you need to be a person who can be taken at their word. I've taught that to my girls, but whether they'd follow that belief or not remained to be seen. More importantly, would momma hold to that belief?
I wanted the one who was embroiled in the group with the drama to leave it. It went against what I believed, but I really was tired of all the nonsense. In the end, I had to stick with what I've always told them. Besides, she wanted to remain with the group. We had some intense conversations. At the end of the day, she said she felt it should be her decision. I let her decide. She remained with the group and it all worked out.
The other child was committed to an event. I also had to make certain commitments for her to participate. I take my signature on a commitment page seriously. One day she came in and informed me about the other group's practices. They were at the same time as the practices she was already committed to. She and several others were planning on quitting so they could attend the practices for the other group. I was against that.
We had an intense conversation, with each presenting her side. She finally said, “Honestly, you can't keep me from quitting.” She was right. This was one of those moments moms hate. I told her she was right, reminded her of what she had been taught and walked out of the room. I didn't bring it up again.
One thing this taught me was that as our kids get older, we won't be able to control their decisions. But we do still have some power. We can encourage. We can remind them of what we've taught them. We can offer solicited advice. Then we can give them space to think and pray they make good choices. Relinquish what we don't have control over and use the power we do still have to parent as best we can.
Oh yeah, she didn't quit. Score one, no two for mom!
Marietta Taylor is the mom of two girls ages 15 and 14 and has been married for 17 years. The family moved from Chicago to Raleigh in 2003. The first few years were a wild ride and were the inspiration for her first book, "Surviving Unemployment Devotions To Go!" Read more about Mari on her blog and website. And find her here monthly on Wednesday on Go Ask Mom.