Do I Guide or Control?

We all need a reason or a cause bigger than ourselves to change anything about ourselves. My wife & I have admitted to one another on several occasions, that there are things about ourselves that we will not even change for one another. We all need something bigger than ourselves before we will consider changing anything. My kids are bigger than me...they are the most important cause I can live for. There are no limits to what I will do for them.

Why do our kids of all people out there, hold the potential to change our conduct & our habits?
Because we all have a childhood memory that we carry in our pocket. We were all on the receiving end of a mommy or daddy or a caregiver. We have a memory of something, that we vowed to our 'small selves' back then, how different we will do things with OUR kids if we were given the chance. Even as Adults we don't know everything & we don't always have an answer for every situation that surprise us, but this got me thinking...

My personal childhood memories would have been so different if someone bigger than me did not take my own "decision making" away from me, but rather cultivated it. Our children's own way of doing will always lead to mistakes one way or another...that is just how all people learn. I would have loved to make mistakes earlier in my life where someone gave me the space & help to discover "my way" of doing & showed me how to deal with my mistakes. This would have built much more confidence in myself & my ideas as a teen.

Telling our kids what to do because they are too small to understand why or how things work has its place. Kids want to do things their way from the first time they try something. When they are very small we are naturally more sensitive to "their way" of doing because it's cute. As they get older though doing things "their own way" just needs a little guidance. It is HERE where I think things go pear shaped if we are more focused on "how WE want things done" than their ability to make decisions & discover their own way of doing. Giving them a task to complete and then telling them "how to do it" might just be that border crossing between guiding & controlling.

The idea sounds innocent at first until you realize some one has taken your decision making away from you. Your ability to decide for yourself HOW you would like to do something. I naturally choose to do things that is easy for ME. YOUR way might be too complicated or too structured or too random for me. In the same way "our way of doing" can interfere with our kids learning process. When we execute a task there is an order and sometimes a chronological order in which things need to happen to reach a desired outcome. Kids need to discover how to make decisions in order of importance, relevance & desired outcome as well. As a parents we we just want things done. It's very easy to forget that our kids don't know & see what we know & see.

Teaching students over many years has given me a front row seat to spectate all sorts of methods their parents employ. If I remove/restrict or inhibit your "decision making" ability I have also taken away your will to participate. Every culture that I have taught (If they are guilty of this) has their own way of digging the following hole for their kids...(& then expect them to climb out of that hole at some point.

When they are young they are restricted in their need to have a voice, state their case, have an opinion or freedom to explore their own convictions. When they are older, every culture determines when the day breaks that they are suddenly expected to be assertive, vigilant & critical thinking young adults, with little to no practice of how to apply themselves. They are expected to know as if you are born an adult.

It makes no sense to shun their nerve, self confidence & wit toward us when they are little & then expect to just hand it back to them in their teens with the freedom to argue & reason & challenge our thinking. This is like saying to a child, they should just watch you play piano without allowing them to touch the keys & one day they will just know what to do when we finally allow them to sit down and play.

You have a childhood memory in your pocket.
Let's try to put our big heads in their little shoes...