Being a parent requires me to teach the art of decision-making to a child who begins with absolutely no experience. It is difficult to hold back and let him make some of his own decisions, but I know I must. Early on, I read in some parenting book or other that it is wise to give your child only two choices. Both must be acceptable choices, but you may let your child choose between them. This was a lifesaver. As my son gets older, I have had to expand my thinking about how he should learn to make decisions.
As soon as he was old enough, we gave our son the option to play a sport of his choice during each season. This lead to finding out about other opportunities, other classes and activities in our area. When he expressed interest in something, we encouraged him to try it out. We began to get annoyed, however, when he would do something for a couple of weeks or months and then no longer want to participate. We would spend good money on all the necessary equipment and class registrations, as well as change our entire schedule to include this new activity. My husband and I went around and around about whether or not he should be “allowed” to quit. I believe there are strong arguments either way, but here’s how I’m starting to look at it:
Why should a young child be asked to commit to anything when he hasn’t yet experienced enough things to know what he truly enjoys? I want his heart to sing when he finds his “thing”. I do not want to put him in a box, forcing him to commit his childhood to something he does not enjoy. I want him to reflect on his life when he gets older and know that his father and I allowed him to make his own choices and find his own interests and hobbies. I want him to know that we encouraged him to be who he truly IS, not who we thought he should be. I want to know that when he does choose to commit to something it is because it feeds his soul. Until he finds what he’s looking for, I will allow him to try, and to quit, as many things as he chooses.