This morning, as my daughter slept and I caught a few minutes of peace and quiet, I poured through the pages of a new book. I read one character saying I didn’t have a choice and another respond because you didn’t have a choice, no one else had a choice.
The statements hit home. How often do we find ourselves in situations in which we don’t see that we do have choices? Rather than seeing the options and taking the time to consider the different outcomes, we do the only thing we think we can – even if it isn’t in keeping with what we want or what we believe to be most true to ourselves. We don’t see the choices so we don’t have a choice.
When one person doesn’t see that they have a choice, those around are forced to work with that information or that action. Everyone is forced to make choices that might not be optimal as a result of the choices made by the first.
The resulting situation is messy.
For me it can feel like being in the center of a storm; the kind of storm that took Dorothy to the land of Oz to find the Wizard. Or it can feel like sliding down a rabbit hole similar to that described in Alice in Wonderland. It is that feeling of seeing choices, seeing options and opportunities, and having to hold all of it close due to all the fear and hopelessness raging around me. It is the realization that I have to detach as much as possible from that feeling and the idea of having no choice and the accusations and the blame that are unjust in order to stay strong and continue to move forward.
Every day there are choices to be made – difficult choices and easy choices. Every situation that presents itself… there are choices. Even when it seems that we don’t have a choice – we do. We have the choice to proceed with fear or the choice to do something different. In all choices and in each case, we have to take the responsibility for that choice. To say that we didn’t have that choice is to lay the responsibility on something or someone else.
Both characters in the book had choices… they weren’t easy choices, but they were choices all the same.
Choices are a part of my every day life at the moment. I am not sure that I have ever been so aware of the different options I have of the results of each, seen or unforeseen. Choices are something I want to see; I want my daughter to see them as well. Thus, when she reported the other night that she did it because she didn’t have a choice… I sat her down, looked her in the eye and pointed out the reality of the situation. No one forces us to do something. Each person makes that choice; each has the right and the power to make that choice. The adults that encouraged her did just that, encouraged her. But she made the decision to actually do it and to do it to the best of her ability despite her tears. She chose; no one took away her choice.
I don’t believe that we are ever too young to learn about choices and the freedom and personal confidence making them provides. We are never too learn to take responsibility for our lives, our happiness, and our choices. This is a gift I want to give my daughter – to consider her options, to look for different opportunities, and to make choices consciously taking responsibility for each.
We are never too young for these lessons; yet, they are most likely lessons that we are continually asked to learn throughout our lives and our differing experiences.