Wednesday, May 18, 2011

31 Days Closer to Your Kids: Include Them in Decisions

Shelly Final

Five years ago I knew I needed to make a change.

I was working part-time as an adjunct professor, yet I was still a full-time mom.

None of my kids drove a car yet, so, since I had three kids in three different schools I had 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 9:00 a.m. drop-offs at their schools. I would then go into my office, prepare for class, grade papers (oh, the never-ending stack of papers!), and teach my class. My class ended at 2:00 p.m., at which time I would rush over to the high school to pick up my oldest and be Mom again.

My days were a whirlwind of driving and cooking and teaching and grading and anything-else-that-comes-up. I was fairly frazzled and starting to border on unhappy.

One day, probably as I was yelling, “Hurry up! I need to get to class!” one of my girls just looked at me and said, “Mom, could you please just not do this anymore?” She wasn’t talking about the yelling.

At that point I knew I had a decision to make. Keep teaching (which would mean a crazy-hectic life for very little money) or stay home and focus on my kids (which would mean better balance and no money at all).

The decision wasn’t a hard one to make.

I really believe that God used my daughter’s voice to speak to me in the midst of chaos, and I’ve never forgotten it. If I had just brushed her off as “just a kid” I would have missed the wisdom that I needed to be spoken into my life at that point.

Listening to my children gave me the help I needed to make a decision.

Just a few weeks ago I was given an amazing opportunity to go back to the job I once loved. But this time it comes with a small title and a little more money. I’m at a completely different place in my life since my kids are older now and growing (too quickly, I might add) toward independence.

I needed to give the opportunity a serious look, so I corralled the troops and asked what they thought. I told my girls that if there was any way this job might make them uncomfortable or hesitant, they should tell me now.

All three were supportive. Each one has expressed to me that they are 100% behind my going back to work. They have sensed that God has paved the way for this. And they have all said I should go for it.

Having that kind of support behind me makes me feel like it’s going to be just fine.

Why did I ask my kids’ opinions? I mean, I am the parent around here (along with their dad), and I could make the decision for myself. And, some might think, asking for input from our kids might give them an unbalanced sense of the authority in our family.

Here’s why I think it’s important to ask for input from our kids when making decisions (note that I said input—there’s a difference between asking for input and letting the kids make the decision):

Certain decisions affect the entire family, so the family should be taken into account when making them. My going back to teaching will have a huge impact on my children. I want them to feel like I respect their place in our family enough to listen to what they have to say.

We can learn from our kids. Shocking, I know, but if we open our ears and our hearts to what our kids have to say, we might just learn a thing or two. We aren’t the only “wise ones” in our household—God just might be speaking to you through your kids.

We can model godly decision-making for our kids. By letting them in as we make decisions, we can show them how prayer, wise counsel, timing, and other factors come into play when we make decisions. Believe me, decision-making isn’t always easy. How else can our kids learn to make wise decisions unless we show them how it’s done?

So, as you’ve probably guessed, there are some big changes coming around here this fall.

You can blame my kids.

* * * * * * * * * *

31 Days Closer to Health, Wellness, and Bathing Suit Season
31 Days Closer to a Cuter You
31 Days Closer to Hearing God's Voice
31 Days Closer to the Life You Always Wanted
31 Days Closer to a New Home



  1. I love this post. By listening to them and giving them the respect that entails, we model healthy relationship skills. Powerful.

  2. Our parenting style is so similiar. . . except the sports team :0)

    This posts reflects the respect you give your girls and yourself. I really like it.


  3. I totally agree with this style of including your kids in the decision making process.

  4. I think there is a powerful tandem to this...including your children in understanding why you've made the decisions that you have made. As we became teenagers my parents sat down with us from time to time to talk about issues related to finances. We didn't necessarily get a say, but it was a rich time of understanding the philosophy behind the decisions they made...some of which involved "sacrifice" so that we could give to our church (which was in the midst of a move/building project), provide for missionaries and save for college. These conversations have impacted my siblings and myself as we've made decisions of our own in regards to finances. This, paired with giving us a "clothing" allowance (which was much more than that) which gave us freedom and decision-making power in many areas of our life really gave us a head start in terms of understanding money, budgets, living within our means, etc.