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October 2010

Let Me Think About It

You know what I admire about my Dad? Well in a society so focused on self. Where when asked for ones opinion, most blurt out words before substantive thoughts can form. My Dad doesn’t, and in fact, is far from this. When asked a question where he may not have a diffinitave thought or answer, he chooses to issue the following statement.

“Let me think about it son”

And indeed my Father will. Sometimes I’ll go several weeks, maybe even a month before hearing about the topic again. But he always gets back to me, and I know that he has been wrestling with whatever question I placed upon him. Trying to do his best to steer me in a direction of value and clarity.

So last night, when my wife asked me a question. What was the body of feedback that I gave her?

“No, its not going to work”

This was a topic that I didn’t know much about, and hadn’t given a lot of thought to. Yet despite this, I still was saying “Nay” with my body language. Closing my mind long before my wife closed her mouth.

I had formed my conclusion rapidly, and was poorer for doing so.

What did I do this morning to start to correct this action? Well I thought about my Dad, and what he would do. And then I did what I should have done in the first place. I sent my wife a text message saying basically;

“Let me think about it”

Love you Dad

Independent Gracie

My child has a will. Start watching her for just five minutes, and it soon becomes apparent that it is growing at an ever expansive rate. And a core belief of mine, is to teach Gracie how to make her own choices. But last night I ended up drawing a line as she willfully chose to bang her hands on the laptop despite being asked to stop several times (and this is far from the first time).

So as I disciplined her, she looked at me, accusing. The crocodile tears and distraught face were really hard to take.

And I wondered;

Am I doing the wrong thing?

Then I thought of how strange Independence and Discipline are as family constructs and teaching tools. They are many times, not only at odds with each other, but actually in direct competition.

On the one hand I know that by teaching Gracie to self sustain, I am equipping her to move forward when I am no longer on this planet. She absolutely needs this to be able to deal with life when her Daddy is not around.

On the other hand, I realize that it will eventually turn my family’s members into small islands. Each separate, with their own thoughts, desires, beliefs, weaknesses, and strengths. And if the bridges between them are not maintained, if the discipline is not done correctly, I could end up losing her. Still, I know in my heart, that this mustn’t be about me. Its has to be about loving Gracie and equipping her to become who she needs to become. I won’t be here forever.

This got me to thinking about a family friends daughter, who is here in Oregon, as she is about to give birth to twins. But because of who she is, who she chooses to be, she is not allowing any of her newborns’ grand-parents to visit for roughly 4 weeks after the birth. And I know that the grandparents are really hurt, but that they realize that they chose to raise an independent daughter.

So my thoughts continue;

Is this just a taste of what Gracie will choose?

How many small hurts must I prepare for?

This journey of being a parent is a strange and tough one, but the joy Gracie brings is something that I cannot even measure. So despite the chance of not just the minor rejections but the possibility of flat out losing her. I know, deep down, that she is absolutely worth this risk. She is worth the discipline and I hope to encourage her independence, even with the comprehension of what it could eventually mean.

-I love you Gracie