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Friday, September 3, 2010

BFF: It's Their Choice, Silly!

Do you know why I love this week's BFF? Well, you'll see after you read her post. But, my main reason is that she is so honest about parenting. She doesn't pretend to have all the answers or that she has it all under control. Yet, she's always trying and sharing what she is working on with her readers. And she inspires me.



“It’s the Silly Silo! Come on, Micah! Go with me!”

My teenage daughter knew better than to ask me. The Silly Silo is a ride that only silly people who enjoy vomiting would subject themselves to. You go into a barrel that spins faster and faster until the bottom drops out and you’re “stuck” to the wall by centrifugal force. Ummmm… why?

I couldn’t believe she thought her 10-year-old brother would join her in her silo insanity. As soon as Micah hit the magic 54” tall mark, we begged, bargained and pleaded with him to go on roller coasters and other crazy rides with us. He. Would. Not. Budge. So I was certain that my stubborn boy would tell his thrill-seeking sister to get over her silly self.

Until he didn’t.

His father and I were speechless when he looked at her, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Sure.”

Sure?! Sure?! My husband, Mike, looked worried. “If he hates that thing, you know we are in for a very long day. He won’t go on anything else ever.”

I held my breath as Micah came off the Silo of Stupidity. As he got closer, he ran over to us with a huge smile on his face. “That was awesome!! What’s next?!”

After we conquered some coasters, I asked him what changed his mind about park rides. He looked at me and said, “I just wanted to.”

No amount of begging or bargaining could convince him until he decided he wanted to.

Isn’t that the way it is in parenting? We have to insist on certain things, of course, like being respectful, doing homework, helping out around the house. But as my kids are getting older, I’m finding I have to let them make more and more decisions on their timetable. Even when I know their choices are causing them to miss out on some amazing “roller coaster” experiences.

This has been tough to take. It challenges my pride and expectations. What if they choose to fail? Act irresponsibly? Make me look bad? Reject what I’ve taught them? Challenge their faith?

The truth of the matter is that I can guide, instruct and tell them what I know to be true. But I often can’t control what they ultimately choose to do and believe. I have to trust that God is working in their hearts and minds. That they’ll learn from their mistakes. That He’ll use their ill-advised detours to make them into the people that He designed them to be.

Last year, my very talented, athletic daughter, Molly, decided she didn’t want to play soccer anymore – for the first time since she played for the Bumblebees at five years old. “I hate this! I’m done!” she yelled. She resented that it cut into her “social life” and half-heartedly limped to the end of that season.

Very reluctantly, we let her sit out last year. Even though it was disappointing. Even though we thought she was squandering her talents.

Then, one day over the summer -- a full year after she hung up her cleats -- she casually said, “I miss soccer. A lot.”

Oh, really? I said nonchalantly. When Mom acts like something is too important, it’s the Kiss of Death.

Then nothing. She didn’t mention it much again until a few weeks before soccer signups.

“I want to play soccer. And I don’t care if any of my friends do it. I’m playing.”

Last night, my husband walked toward the field to pick Molly up from one of her first practices. From a distance, he saw a girl burning up the field with moves like Mia Hamm. He told me he thought, “Wow, I wish Molly would hustle like that.” When he got closer, he realized that the soccer phenom was, in fact, his daughter.

Just like her brother, she made her move when she was ready.

And thinking I can force those kind of choices is, well, just plain silly.


I really need to remember this, especially when one of my kids is being stubborn about trying something. Please show Melinda some comment love and then go follow her blog if you don't already!

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32 Comments:

Blogger Oka said...

SO much truth in these experiences.

September 3, 2010 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Brittany Ciara said...

You are so right, she is amazing! I loved this post. LOVED it! Off to follow her blog now, because from this post... she deserves it. :)

She had me at "teenage daughter." ;)

September 3, 2010 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Daffy said...

Independence....freedom of choice...even at 2 my daughter is already very strong willed. I'm totally in for it!

Great feature, Shell!

September 3, 2010 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Shana said...

Very good advice. Much like my Mom raised us. We live and learn.

September 3, 2010 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger melonbelly said...

Isn't it amazing what our kids can do when they WANT TO? I am proud of you for allowing them to make those choices for themselves. Way to go girl!

www.melonbelly.blogspot.com

September 3, 2010 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

This was a great post!! My mom absolutely let us make our own mistakes- and we're better off for it. Although, I'm sure she would have stepped in if we lit the house on fire or something. I'm headed over there to follw Melinda right now!!

September 3, 2010 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger natalee said...

as usual you have led me to another great blog!! xoxoxo

September 3, 2010 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Kmama said...

What a great guest post!! It certainly is scary letting them make choices for themselves, when you think you know what's best for them!

September 3, 2010 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger purseblogger said...

Another great choice Shell.

September 3, 2010 at 10:48 AM  
OpenID naturegirl21 said...

my kids are only 4 and 2 but I definitely need to follow this advice. You cannot force kids to do anything.

September 3, 2010 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger shortmama said...

Boy that is for sure...the more we back off the more they seem to be able to make their own decisions

September 3, 2010 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger MommaKiss said...

Oh, momma, this is SO true. There are so many things kids are just going to do 'when they want to.' Part of their learning the things they can and cannot control, I think. Mine are younger than yours, but I still see it in small ways.  I have to admit, your "what ifs" are some of my worst parenting fears. Sounds like you're doing an incredible job, keep it up!

(nice choice Shell - Love this post!)

September 3, 2010 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Thanks to all of you for your sweet and encouraging comments. Parenting is a tough gig for sure, but we're all in it together. It helps to have friends both IRL and in the blogosphere who I can lean on! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my guest post and stop by my blog! And THANK YOU, Shell, for the honor of being your BFF!

September 3, 2010 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Emmy said...

She is so right! It is hard, especially the pride part but we do just have to let them decide.

September 3, 2010 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger The Drama Mama said...

I promise to stop back by and give this post and the BFF the attention they deserve.

I have an award for you!

2010/09/playing-catch-up-blog-awards-and.html

September 3, 2010 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Just Another Mom of 2 said...

This is one of the best summaries of parenting I have ever read. I see shades of this existing already in my young children and I am nervous for those times ahead- love, love, love her perspective. Shell, I have added each of your BFF's to my reader and have not been disappointed!

September 3, 2010 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

I think that's the very hardest part of parenting. It's nice in the beginning when you make all of the choices. Then you let go little by little and watch them be their own person. It's enough to wish for a way to stop time when they're toddlers!

September 3, 2010 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Babes Mami said...

Love her! Also, I love the Silly Silo!! It used to be one of my FAVORITES!

September 3, 2010 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

This is so true, yet sometimes so hard to remember.

You can lead a horse to water......

September 3, 2010 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Candy said...

You are so right. It's hard to stop and think about it when we see a child wanting to quit a sport, especially after we as parents have poured our own blood, sweat, tears, and -- oh, yes -- oodles of money. But ultimately, our goal should be our children's happiness, which means letting them go at their own individual paces.

Very, very timely reminder as school starts. Thank you.

September 3, 2010 at 10:23 PM  
Blogger bigguysmama said...

Ugh, it's so hard to allow my kids to make decisions in their lives. My oldest is 19 and I'm making her make more choices and figure things out on her own. Oh my, I'm having a hard time.

My 11 yr old doesn't want to do AWANA this year because it's so hard for him to memorize scripture. So, I'm letting him NOT do it. I hate seeing him feel like a failure and if he's ok with it, I am.

Thanks for sharing about your family!

~Mimi aka @bigguysmama

September 3, 2010 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger WhisperingWriter said...

I like this. I never force my kids to do a sport because my parents did that to me. It did NOT go well.

September 3, 2010 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Miss Welcome said...

Wow - great advice and inspirational stories. My kids are 6,4 and 2 so we're not quite there yet but I'll keep that in mind for later on.

September 4, 2010 at 3:39 AM  
Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Such a great post... I feel like I need to print it and put it on teh fridge as a reminder. I'm going through this with The Girl and reading. The Boy has always been so motivated he was reading before Kindergarten. The Girl, while she can, has always, when asked insisted that she can't read. Now at the beginning of first grade, she's suddenly decided, thanks to a new friend, that she wants to learn...it's so much less painful now that she WANTS to!

September 4, 2010 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

I needed to read this - this week was a rough one with my 4-year-old. I have a bad habit of not letting him choose, because really, it's just easier, right?

I'm sowing the seeds of issues for the future. Bad mama. Bad mama.

(hangs head) I'll do better.

September 4, 2010 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Mrs4444 said...

This is fantastic. I could relate to all of it. I love you already :)

This philosophy of parenting matches mine and my husbands, which we adopted after reading Barbara Coloroso's book, Kids Are Worth It, many, many years ago. It's worked like a charm for us [keeping fingers crossed.]

Thanks, Shell! Excellent pic! I'm linking this post up today!

September 4, 2010 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Kirby3131 said...

This is an adult thing, too. I know that I've been stubborn about NOT doing things even though I didn't know what I was resisting. Then one day - I'll try it. Funny.

Kristin - The Goat
via Saturday Sampling

September 4, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Melinda you are just awesome. But I knew that already! ;-)

That is really awesome that when she was ready she went back to it-despite what others might have thought. I always love the life lessons that you're able to share with the world-you make me see my job as a mom very differently!!

September 4, 2010 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Lourie said...

She is a neat sounding lady! I am off to go and visit her blog.

September 4, 2010 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Karen MEG said...

The toughest thing to do is let go, and it's so hard when they're still "young"... and when you're a control freak!
Lovely post - what a blog find!

September 4, 2010 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...

I'm so happy to see Melinda here, I just LOVE her too! Great post Melinda. I have been learning this too. Especially with my son...he will let us know when he's ready. He has always been that way. Great reminder that sometimes our children need time and space to figure these things out for themselves :)

September 6, 2010 at 2:10 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I love the part about the amazing soccer player being her! What a great post! It's so hard to try not to control everything. No matter what we do to intervene in God's plan, He always has a better handle on things than us!

September 7, 2010 at 5:07 PM  

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