“Mama, my good friend K is celebrating Halloween!”
“Mama, there’s a Halloween bouncy castle there, can I go?”
“Mama, what’s that?”
At a Halloween booth at the public pool yesterday, I stood with a big question before me- what was my stand on our kids being involved in Halloween? To what extent was it acceptable? Was a clearcut no to anything remotely associated with it the best way forward?
It reminded of an incident at a different pool a few days ago when a little girl came to ask me if she could borrow my girls’ donut swim float.
To prevent what I anticipated to be an all-tears tantrum and fall-out, I made the decision on their behalf and said, “No, you can’t.”
But a split moment later, I realized that my kids were no longer toddlers. They had grown. Surely even my 4-year old could speak for herself.
So I replied, “Why don’t you ask my daughter yourself? She’s over there.”
To my surprise, my 4-year old said to this little girl with the grand articulation and confidence of an attorney, “You can borrow it. But just for a short while. And when I need it back, you have to return it, okay?”
I stood there, jaw open.
I realized as parents, so often we feel the need to jump in and make the decisions we feel are best for our children.
But by doing so, we rob them of the opportunity to grow and make mistakes.
The “parenting funnel” shows us that while our love for our children never change, our expression of it through the control we exert over them and the autonomy we allow should as they grow.
Whether it’s what to do about Halloween or what kind of music is allowed at home, these are intensely personal decisions unique to every household. I know that for me, I’d rather “let go” of the littler things than run a tight ship on all things, so that at the end of the day, the big picture is kept in mind- what comes first is our relationship with our children, which ought to reflect that which God has with us- that of love, and therein, freedom too. 💛