How long did it take you to realize that you don’t have to say yes to everyone and everything in order to be liked? Or accepted? Or accomplished?
You probably figured it out waaaaayyy before I did. I was in my early 30s? I don’t remember exactly when but it wasn’t that long ago, I’m sorry to say. Now I rarely give a definite answer without taking my time. If I get asked to join something, do something, make/bake something… whatever the request might be, I am quick to say that I will look at my calendar or think about it or whatever and get back to them soon. I generally give a time frame, anywhere from an hour to a day or week, depending on the request.
It is empowering to take my time in decision-making. And when I do make up my mind, the other party knows that it is truly what I want to do and can do. Nothing fake about it.
Unfortunately I didn’t extend that to my daughter earlier this week when she was on the phone with someone requesting her service. She attended a leadership training at a local Bible camp (that she has attended for 4 summers) in June. She loved it and eventually hopes to be a camp counselor there. This training was to start the process of training her to be a JC or junior counselor. Unfortunately she had to leave early (the night before scheduled) due to a migraine.
But the exciting part was that they were interested in starting her as a JC THIS summer… even though she is only 14 and their usual requirement is that JCs complete their sophomore year in HS first. She just completed 8th grade.
So this week they wanted her to do a week the first part of August. It would overlap our big family vacation by a day, which I told her. They said they could let her go a day early. She agreed. When she hung up I asked if she was sure she wanted to do it. She got a little huffy thinking I didn’t want her to… fact is, with this added to her calendar it would give her only one more full week at home all summer. The week before school starts. When I tried to explain, she started to cry. Overwhelmed. She didn’t realize that.
I should have instructed her to tell the camp director that she would call her back the next day after looking at her calendar. Why didn’t I? Because I was busy with work and not really thinking… I did assure her it was not the end of the world. That she could certainly call the camp back and explain that after looking at the August schedule more closely, it just wouldn’t work.
She didn’t really want to make that call… I don’t like to see her having to do uncomfortable things. But she’s getting bigger and needs to learn these things. Better now. With me right here. She was afraid they would be mad. I assured her they wouldn’t. If they think enough of her to have her JC two years early, they certainly won’t hold her honesty and responsible nature against her.
The camp director was sad she was so booked up already but assured her they would contact her early next year to get her scheduled before her summer booked up. And Grace learned that you just have to do some things. Like make tough phone calls. Even if there is a chance someone will be upset.
I think a valuable lesson was learned. Both in having to call and say that she couldn’t fulfill the commitment she made and in seeing the value in telling someone that you certainly want to do something but need to check the calendar and think about it before committing.
She’ll make a hasty commitment again. And sometimes she’ll just tough it out and do what she said she would, maybe even hating every minute. And sometimes she’ll find a way to back out gracefully. But maybe she’ll get the hang of making thoughtful decisions before she’s 30! That would be great!
Aren’t we all just trying to pass along those lessons we wish we’d have learned a little earlier? What are you teaching a young one these days? What life lessons do you wish you had learned earlier?