Covid-19 · Fostering · Parenting

Choices

Choices… we all make them.

Every day.

Some choices are simple and whatever you choose will probably be fine. Whether I wear the grey socks or the green socks today isn’t likely to change anything about my day, but it’s still a choice I have to make. Cereal or toast for breakfast? Wear a sweater or not? Leave 5 minutes early or …

You get the picture. By the time we leave the house for our day we’ve already made a lot of choices. Most of us don’t even realize the complex decision making process we are engaging.

Then there are the decisions that may have more consequences. Do I say something to them about that or not? Do I spend this money or not? Do I exceed the speed limit to get to appointment on time or not? The outcomes from some choices could cause some discomfort in our lives depending on what we choose.

Then there’s the really big decisions that most of us think are the true struggle. University or trade? Marry or walk away? Invest or save? Move or stay? We think they are the things that we could really screw up. What should I do with my life? How do I know what is right? What if I get it all wrong?

Decisions are inevitable and we all will have to keep on making them our entire lives. We learn to make decisions in the little things so that when the big decisions come we are better equipped.

Watching children make decisions is hard. Sometimes we sit back proudly as they make the right decision (translation: the one we would have made) and sometimes we sit back and worry about where their choices will land them. But we can’t make all the decisions for them forever.

Making decisions can be tough. It takes something called executive function to consider the options, weigh the possible outcomes and choose a course of action. That can break down in many places. We see those difficulties as we watch our foster kids make choices. Sometimes they just can’t see where those choices are taking them. We try to offer our experience as we guide them. We have the ability to see a little farther down the road. As parents our listening ears and life stories can be valuable for our children. Our support and guidance are an important part of them learning to make choices.

graphic from @mombrain.therapist

I have been watching various people make decisions lately. Seen their struggle and the way they choose to justify the choices made, or not made. I am more convinced than ever that the choice to be kind is harder to make and much more impactful that the choice of which high school to attend. The choice to be generous will mean more than which job you choose to take. The choice to be a person of integrity will bring greater joy than where you live.

Although the big picture decisions seem to loom large it is the little everyday decisions in the journey that will determine who you become. We get to be a part of shaping how our foster children make choices and we do it by modeling the process.

So choose wisely…

In the midst of the mess

Marny

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