For the past couple of years, my daughter has obsessed over soccer. She loved the game and everything about it. She loved the uniforms, the shoes, the shin guards, the ball. She loved to run, kick, and block. And then, one day, out of the blue, it changed. Suddenly, she didn't want to play anymore. She is going through some embarrassing medical problems that I think have really fueled this decision. Not only that, but she said to me, "Momma, it's just not FUN anymore".
I really struggled with the choice of weather or not to allow her to quit playing. After all, I had invested precious time, energy, and money into the whole thing. But then I thought long and hard about it. Even though she's only six, she should be allowed to make her own choices when it comes to major life decisions. At six, weather or not to play soccer is about as big a major life decision as you can get. Allowing her to make this choice shows her that I trust her judgement enough to allow her to make her own choices. She gets so few in her life as it is - I choose what she eats, where she goes, and what she plays/watches. Her father and I choose where she goes to school, where we live, and how we get around. We chose how much money we spend on her school clothes and weather or not she gets that Barbie doll she's been wanting for months. She still makes choices throughout the day - weather she will eat what I give her, what she wears, Sponge Bob or Martha Speaks . . . But not very often is she given the opportunity to make a major choice like that.
So often, I see parents that don't give their children any choices. They may be control freaks. They may be enablers or protectors - scared to death that their child might actually make the wrong choice. I think this is teaching our children the wrong thing. We have to show them that we trust them enough, at a young age, to make certain choices on their own. Not doing so would be such a huge disservice to them. Right now, Emily's choice was about soccer. Next year, it may be about basketball or cheerleading. But in a few years, there are going to be bigger choices - weather to use drugs or not, weather or not to have sex with that cute boy in her science class . . . these are choices that she has to make for herself. They're not mine to make for her.
I have to allow her to make mistakes - so that she can learn from them and grow in wisdom and experience. Allowing her to make those choices now, and learning from them, will help her be more confident in the future about making choices on her own.