A few weeks ago I was sitting talking with a friend when her 4 year old daughter came bursting into the room fussing over an almost non-existent scrape on her leg. The little girl thought for sure it needed a glossy cartoon bandaid in order to heal properly. The mom began to answer with a, “No, you don’t need one,” only to stop herself and say, “Oh yeah, I forgot, I don’t care.”
You see, she and her husband had decided that penny-a-piece bandaids just weren’t that big of a deal.
That one little scene made quite an impression on me.
A lot of people hear the words “Choose Your Battles” and they immediately envision incredibly permissive parents who are too tired or lazy to discipline naughty children. (oh wait, am I the only one who thought that?!)
But, of course, we all do it…we all choose, from time to time, not to discipline a particular behavior or event for one reason or another. And yep, sometimes it is because we are too tired or too lazy!
But what if Choosing Your Battles was something we didn’t just do on-the-fly? What if we had some forethought about it? Or what if we took the time to really consider all the angles of a certain childish behavior before blurting out, “No.”
What if we chose to let them be children?
Suppose Mozart’s father had said, “Quit banging on that harpsichord!”? What if Michelangelo’s mama hadn’t wanted to deal with the playdough mess? How about if Monet wasn’t ever allowed to get out the paints?
Now I’m not saying that this little girl with an affinity for bandaids is destined to become a doctor any more than I am suggesting my little guy in the linen closet is training to become a towel. I’m saying that just because something isn’t neat and tidy and logical doesn’t mean it deserves an automatic No.
When my big kids were little kids, we visited a family with parents of the No persuasion. I bet I heard the son ask to get out 10 different toys to share with his new friends, all of which were met with the answer, “No.” By the end of it all, my kids were thoroughly bored and the son was looking for all sorts of mischief to get into. Needless to say, my children begged us to never visit there again (or at least not bring them along if we did!)
I’ve blogged before about how quick we are to mow our children down, but this post is more about the fun (and yes, often childish) things in life that we as parents mow down. My son hanging out in the linen closet really isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just good, clean fun! (no pun intended)
There are definitely battles that must be fought, but I imagine if we take a long, hard look at the things we say No to there would be quite a few that just don’t matter.
So what if my 5 year old wants to wear her “chicken dress” with a hot pink shirt and a pair of jeans under it? Who really cares if my 8 year old wants to sleep with every single stuffed animal she owns? What’s the big deal if my son wants to stay up a half hour extra to help plan our vacation? And what is it really going to hurt for my 3 year old to climb up into the linen closet and take a snooze?
You know what? I’m not Choosing My Battles…I’m CHOOSING not to care! He’ll only fit in that linen closet so long…why not let him enjoy it while he can!