The Author....

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I am a mom to twin boys, full-time employee of a telecommunications company and wife to a professional musician. I work, do yoga, cook and try to squeeze in DIY projects and spending time with friends.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Chicken or fish? Paper or plastic? Life is full of choices, big and small, important and insignificant. Most of raising kids consists of making choice- their making choices on how to act, and my choices as to how to reacts. And so, as we transition into a summer that has less structure for the three school-year scheduled males in my family, I find myself reminding the kids that they are responsible for their choices. They, even at six years old, have choices to make and an abundance of free will. Speak in a normal volume in the house, or yell and scream? The first results in lots of family time and confirmation that you're on the right track. The latter... time alone in your room. Do your morning chores (get dressed, brush teeth, pick up your room, etc) or not? The first yields a sticker on the chart and money to use as you wish, while the latter gets no sticker, and thus, no money. Life has consequences, I've always said to the kids. Focus on what you want, and make choices that get you there.

Should be easy, right? Well, the gap here is that doing the right thing doesn't always get you the rewards, and breaking the rules doesn't always land you in hot water. Take speeding for instance... I drive over the speed limit a fair bit, but I don't get a ticket every time. Admit it, same with you, right? Speed cameras are increasing the number of times I get caught (bummer), but I still get away with it most of the time, accepting the occasional ticket-by-mail as they come.

By that same token, one of my kids seems to accept the consequences of his actions consistently. He is the only one who can control his behavior, and I've taken to reminding him that its his choice to comply or not. Even his teacher commented that unlike every other child she had taught for 15+ years, he was uniquely stubborn, and seemingly immune to consequences. He comes by it honestly- my mother told me this morning that my brother and one of her brothers (my uncle) were the same, often never getting to play with a new toy because it was always taken away for some transgression. While the historic perspective is helpful, I do wonder how this plays out in our modern world. My brother broke the rules in 1980s San Diego, and my uncle in 1930s Brooklyn. We're a long ways away from that in 2011 Northern Virginia.

The choice I've made is to try and relax and allow my kid to control his own destiny. He will make some poor choices, and I will be forced to let him suffer the consequences. And Mr. Unwired and I will hope that he learns to make better choices along the way, not crossing the line into territory that could affect his life in the long run. In addition, I hope he learns independence, self-sufficiency and the art of the calculated risk. As adults, my brother and our uncle are wonderful men and fathers, excellent businessmen and truly good people. There's no other outcome would I want more for my son.

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