I used to think that parenting was all about helping kids make their own choices. After years of experimenting with this philosophy, I’ve had to adjust so that I don’t let my kids slam too many doors before they’ve even had a peek through the keyhole.
Looking back on my own life, I realize how huge every decision was, whether I made it for myself or my parents made it for me. Even seemingly small choices become huge divergences on the path of life.
Yesterday I took my 15 year old son to sign him up at a new high school. He wanted desperately to stay at his old one, but for various reasons such as our having moved out of district, not to mention the price of gas, the new school is a necessary change.
I felt terrible about it until we’d gotten him his new schedule which includes drama and computer classes. I feel like he has something to look forward to and can meet some people with similar interests.
He has chosen not to continue to play football. This feels like an even bigger decision to me, just because there are so many benefits and good memories generated by participating in school activities. While I don’t care about the pigskin in particular, it is the only sport he has experience in, and at this level of organized sports it’s too late to start something new.
I knew I had to turn this choice over to him.
I know some parents would push, some would push hard, but I just spoke to him seriously, trying to impress upon him the implications of his decision. But I know, having been a teenager, that there is no way he can possibly understand how big every decision is.
Some days, this huge weight feels too big to carry. But somehow I take another step and move on to the next fork in the road.