Tags: decision making, our choices, parenting, risk taking
I remember the very moment when I felt the most relief I have ever had in my life. It was right before I walked down the aisle at my wedding. It was the moment when I no longer had to make any decisions. I just had to follow directions. Someone was going to tell me where to stand, what to say, and what to do.
It’s kind of strange to get relief from being told what to do, but it kind of makes sense. I have always been a decision-maker, very assertive and ready to commit to whichever choice I was making. The world was not going to end if you chose the wrong restaurant, the wrong shoes, the wrong hotel. As a child, one of the greatest moments is when you finally get the courage and knowledge to say what it is you want to do, and that it’s not what you are being told to do. It’s freedom in its purest form.
But let’s be honest. Making decisions is incredibly stressful! At the end of the day, you are responsible for whatever decision you make. If you book a flight too close to a meeting and your flight is delayed, that’s on you. Choosing an apartment, a college, a car, a partner, all of these decisions rest entirely on you. We look to our trusted loved ones to back up our decisions, sometimes calling on them to tell us what to do, but in the end it’s on you, and if things go awry, it’s on you to fix.
As an adult, this takes on a whole new meaning. Without a provided structure to guide our time, our roles, our responsibilities, it’s totally on you to make decisions that make sense for your life in the context of the world we live in. There is so much to think about. Each decision effects the next and learning from the past while thinking about the present and the future, and all the other factors, is exhausting.
So please, expert on my life, whoever you are, tell me what to do sometimes. Oh, who am I kidding? I probably wouldn’t listen anyways.
Tags: family, growing up, parenting
They’re the ones who taught you how to ride your bike. They’re the ones that encouraged you to enter the unknown or unfamiliar, to explore, to take risks, to learn, to make new friends. You turn to them first for advice in all things, because they are your parents. The moment you are born, your parents are the first people you likely turn to for everything, but at some point, you are able to do things on your own, or you want to try, and your parents will watch as their little boy or girl grows up and becomes independent.
But as you get older, the decisions get bigger, and you may still need mom and dad to help you navigate stuff. Should I go to this college? Should I take this job? Should I move into this apartment? Sometimes people need a little reassurance in the decisions that they make.
And at some point you reach a level with your parents where they need you more than you need them. Luckily, they have taught you how to be supportive, how to help them make decisions, so you can pay them back for all that they have taught you. It is the gift of family.
But that doesn’t mean you suddenly won’t need them. It doesn’t completely turn the tables. There are still the life experiences you have yet to live that they can guide you through. There’s raising kids, or writing your will, or getting a mortgage. All of the decisions that they have made you can learn from.
I know I will always need my parents, just as much as they need me right now. And I plan to learn from them for the rest of their lives, and beyond that, to recount the things they have taught me to my future family.
Tags: family, fear, never say never, parenting, protection
When I was growing up, my father slept with a bat under the bed. When I would come home at night as a teen, or if I woke up to get a glass of milk in the kitchen, he would immediately wake up to check on me. He would call to me and make sure it was me, even though he knew it was. Knowing when I was home put his mind at ease, I guess.
But I do wonder…what would he have done with that bat if he thought there was a threat? If the moment came that he had to defend his family, would he? Knowing my father and all that he has sacrificed for me, I think he would do whatever it takes to protect his family — even if it meant violence. I am happy that he never had to go to that extreme to make sure my brother and I were safe, though he did protect us in many other ways. I am certain there were many sleepless nights.
Though it does make me think about those trying times, those hardships, those moments when you think that what you are going through is going to kill you for sure — there is no way you can survive this. You can’t see how the situation will make you stronger, as the saying goes. You are pushed beyond your limits and of what you are capable of. It is the reason why it is said, “never say never.” We will always be pushed beyond what we define as our limits. We will always be put into situations that test us and we will always do things we previously thought we would never do.
It’s about courage, at the heart of it all. It’s not about being brave. It’s not about not being scared. We all get scared sometimes. Fear is a part of life. Fear helps us protect what matters to us. Every good parent lives with a healthy dose of fear everyday. It’s about confronting the unknown, protecting what matters, and letting go of what doesn’t. It’s about being ready to use that bat if and when the time comes to defend what matters to you.