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© 2019 by Joyce Fetteroll

Commitments

Yes I would stick with a course I signed up for. If I have made a commitment to something, I need to see it though to the end, at 11 or 36 years of age.

 

Why do you need to? What happens if you stop doing something that's entirely for yourself that you are no longer enjoying?

 

To me, though, a commitment is when I've said I'll do something and other people are counting on me to do it. Who am I inconveniencing or hurting if I don't complete something I've begun for myself if I'm not enjoying it?

 

Learning to stick with something you dislike is much easier than learning to discern when it's best to stick something out and when to cut your losses. In fact millions of kids are learning how to stick with something they don't like right now in school.

 

but in the process of fulfilling my commitment I have learned things about myself.

 

We can learn from adversity. We can also learn in the absence of adversity. Are the lessons learned from imposed adversity worth the imposing? Or could we have learned something even better with the time we spent doing something we didn't enjoy?

 

I think that learning to follow through on your agreements is character building, and that in my book is absolutely necessary.

 

Learning not to inconvenience others for frivolous reasons is part of being a decent human being. We can help our kids with the bigger picture of how their choices impact others. We can redirect them to activities that won't inconvenience others when they aren't ready for commitments. But if a child takes a class, who are they inconveniencing if they drop it?

 

 

I've learned a lot in my time with these courses of study. Even if I didn't stay with it.

 

Yes, every time we go through the decision to quit we learn more about ourselves.

 

Sticking with something isn't that hard to learn. You just grit your teeth and push on.

 

But learning to assess whether a situation will return more to us than it will take from us if we continue is a very useful lesson to learn. In fact decision making was a required course in the engineering program I went through in college. Personally I think it was too little too late. We were all trained by school that to start something was to stick with it. (We didn't have a choice!) And, as a side lesson, that sometimes it's best not to take chances because you might get stuck with something you don't want. :-/

 

Life should be a joyful exploration not a burden of obligation to finish what we begin.

 

 

It sounds, though, like it might be difficult for him to admit to you that he simply messed up and thought the course would be cool, but it turned out he didn't feel like doing it after all.

 

That's a good point.

 

When we want our kids to make the decisions we would and they know we'll be disappointed if they choose differently we've put up a road block between us and them. If they only feel comfortable telling us what we want to hear what do they do with the stuff we don't want to hear? They can not talk about it. (It sounds like he's doing that now. He can't tell you he doesn't like the course because he knows you'd be disappointed in him for not sticking it out or having made a bad decision.) Or they can tell friends. Or they can lie. Or they can pretend.

 

We're lying to ourselves if we think we can make them want what we want, think like we think, value what we value. We can create an emotional environment so they feel the most comfortable option is to pretend they are what we want them to be. And that can give us false feedback that they are taking on our values.

 

That doesn't mean we have no influence, that we should just give up, though! We can live our values joyfully and talk about why we feel those values are important to us (not why they should think they're important). They trust us and love us and they'll take seriously what we value if we present it as our values rather than how we want them to be.

 

We can talk to them about how something is making us feel rather than bringing down the law on their heads with "Here's the problem and here's what you need to do to fix it."

 

And our feelings are an area we need to examine. All our feelings feel legitimate! ;-) But sometimes we're basing feelings on limitations that exist only in our heads, like how clean the house "needs" to be. I think that's where this list is so valuable. The people here make us question what we think is right and true and necessary and we can see things in ways we wouldn't have thought to on our own :-)

 

 

Joyfully Rejoycing