Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Agency: We're given it, why not give it to our children?

Thoughts seem to come to me at the strangest times! I was in the middle of an crazy work out when I had this deep thought come to me as clear as day, it went something like this:

I CHOSE to be here doing this work out. I'm sweating, tired, my muscles are sore, and I'm even sick, but here I am. I made the choice to do this. Then I started thinking about how awful it would be if I were forced to go to the gym every day. How if I was forced to be there I wouldn't enjoy it, I wouldn't work as hard, and I wouldn't reap the success I feel after getting the courage to get myself and two kids there. 

This would have been Satan's plan for us here on earth. He may not have forced us to go to the gym every day (thank goodness haha) but he would've taken away our ability to choose anything for ourselves. Can you imagine never getting the opportunity to make a good decision? What if we HAD to believe our church was true or that God even existed? Would we actually ever gain a testimony if we were forced to believe it's true? After 25 years of bad and good decisions, I can say that I have felt a variety of emotions and learned more than I ever could have if I was forced to be a certain way. I am so grateful for my SAVIOR. I have chosen to believe in Him and place my trust in Him because He gave me that ability.  His plan saved us all, and he continues to save us in so many ways. He wanted us to learn. He wanted us to feel. He wanted us to CHOOSE him and our Heavenly Father. Choice and agency are a gift and I hope to use them in the right ways.

How strange is it then that there are times that I expect our two littles to obey my every command? Why should I deprive them of the choices and agency that were divinely given to them at birth? Our 3-year-old has a seriously hard time being forced to do something (as I'm sure a lot of three-year-olds do). For example:

Porter and Millie get into a lot of disagreements which usually leads to someone's outburst. Sometimes it's Porter yelling at Millie and sometimes it's Millie hitting Porter. One instance I'm thinking of is when when they were fighting over a certain favorite chair in our living room. Neither of them can really communicate how they feel very well so when Millie took Porter's spot, I had a feeling he'd get really upset. Next thing I know, he swung his arm right into Millie's arm to express his anger. He KNOWS this is wrong. We've had many conversations and time-outs about this. So what am I to do? I decided to sit back and see what he CHOSE to do without me forcing him to do anything. After he hit her, he looked at me, looked at Millie (who was partly crying), looked back at me, and then back at Millie. At this point I usually put him in time-out or would say in a loud tone "PORTER! DO NOT HIT! Now say sorry and give Millie a hug!" So I think Porter was waiting for my reaction. When I didn't provide an action for him to do, he had to choose for himself. Next thing I know, he's rubbing Millie on her back and saying, "Sorry Millie, Love you Millie." He even kissed her boo-boo and gave her a hug.

Is this real life? Yep, my child can make good decisions if I relinquish my control and allow them to. It requires patience, as I'm sure our Heavenly Father has to use quite a bit for our mistakes, but we can do it too. Our children deserve the chance to make good decisions (and maybe some bad ones) so that they can know for themselves WHY they choose that way. It will carry on with them as they get older. They will be better successful adults, knowing good decisions from bad.

We're not always going to be there to tell them what to choose, so we need to teach them now how to CHOOSE good decisions (even when we're not there).

The most important thing to remember. Our Savior is there to meet them half-way. Our Savior makes up for our short-comings. Not only does he allow us to choose, he also allows us to use the power of the atonement when we know we chose wrong. He loves us and he loves each of our little babes. Shouldn't we choose to be like our Savior and allow our children to make more decisions on their own as we teach them right from wrong? I know so. We need to remember that we're the parents and we set rules and boundaries (and appropriate consequences) but while we do those things, we can allow our beautiful children reach their greater potential.

Hopefully this holds you over until the next work-out epiphany!

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