It’s amazing how much grief changes a perspective on life. Yes, a greater focus on eternity and Kingdom living is a given, but other things are also affected – like the way I choose to parent my children.
B and I always kind of had it in our heads that we would let H get her ears pierced when she turned 10. Yes, I know we were a bit “old school” and that even baby girls get their ears pierced. But for me, as I was growing up, that act was a right of passage – a turning point that proved I was responsible enough to take care of myself and my earrings. So I kept the same perspective for my daughter.
She never really cared about it until recently. But then she started to bring it up in conversation. She told me that almost all of the girls she knew that were around her age already had their ears pierced. She told me that she was going to work hard at continuing to be responsible and take care of her things, so that she could be sure to get hers pierced in a year.
And I caved. You see, I know my precious little girl already feels like she often doesn’t fit in now because most of her friends have their daddy around. It hurts my heart that she doesn’t, but I can’t do anything about that. But not having her ears pierced? That’s trivial. There is no real reason that matters as to why she shouldn’t. And besides, she’s had to grow up a lot more in the last year and be faced with things that a lot of girls her age haven’t had to deal with yet. So off we went, on a girls’ afternoon together the day before her 9thbirthday, and a part of that involved the infamous ear piercing… and resulted in one happy girl.
I want to be a “yes” mom. Now obviously, there are plenty of times that I need to tell my children “no.” But there are also plenty of times that I think, as moms, we say “no” when it would really be ok to say “yes.” So I try to ask myself these three questions:
1. Is it harmful? My job is to protect my children in the best way I can. They will be hurt in this world, but I will do the best job I can to protect them from hurt that could be avoided. This is especially true while they are little.
2. Is it appropriate? I must consider whether it’s something age appropriate and also appropriate for a follower of Christ. This is usually the area that takes the most consideration. I want to protect their innocence, and teach them that their actions have consequences.
3. Is he/she mature enough to handle this responsibility? There have been times when I’ve had to say “no” to activities because my kids weren’t ready for the challenge or responsibility that was required. There have also been times when I have to say “wait” because I know they will be ready, but aren’t quite there yet.
After experiencing grief, it’s even more important that I think through these questions, because my tendency could be to give in to my kids simply due to my sorrow for what they have had to endure. But grief also has a way of making you realize how many things you should say “yes” to, because life is short and tomorrow is never guaranteed. That goes for myself, and it goes for my parenting. There are so many things that I’ve said “no” to in the past that seem so trivial now. Who cares if their outfit doesn’t match or they wear jeans when it’s 95 degrees outside? Who cares if they stay up a little later because they want to finish that exciting book? Who cares if the dishes don’t get done because we chose to ride our bikes to a park after dinner and stay there to watch the sun set?
Life is sacred. It’s a gift we’ve been given by the Father, and I, for one, want to cherish it.
So I choose to say “yes” whenever I can – to God, to myself, and to my children.