Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Boundaries

Abigail is gonna kill me for sharing this photo.
I'd like to entitle it
For The Love of Bacon.


This girl can actually out-eat her mom
when it comes the Western Bacon Cheeseburgers.
She also happened to get Straight A's last term.
It was a big deal
because we didn't require it of her 
or offer any rewards or anything.

She just decided she could apply herself better
and she did.
We were so proud.
But, this post isn't about that.

I just wanted to explain why I bought 
her a Western  Bacon Cheeseburger.
We were celebrating

her awesomeness.
She makes us so proud
in so many ways.

I had a profound experience yesterday
and while I was just showering it dawned on me
that I was able to apply the lessons I have learned
about boundaries.
It also donned on me that boundaries
are really just agency.
God has taught us all about agency.

I thought about how so many people don't get how 
to utilize the principle of agency in their lives.
They let people intrude on their agency
and they intrude on others' agency without knowing it.

Yesterday I dropped Abigail off at a Valentine's Party.
It was at the home of a boy that I don't know at all.
When I dropped her off, 
I walked her in and met some of the kids.
I was especially interested in the host.
He explained that their chaperon 
for the night was his 25 year old brother.
I immediately cringed and questioned,
"Is he a good 25 year old brother or 
is he the kind that is going to buy you beer as soon as I turn my back?"
The kid's reaction was very telling.
He looked shocked and said, "No way, he's not that kind."

I reminded Abigail to have fun.
I silently checked to make sure I had covered 
all the lecture bases on the way over.
Don't go anywhere alone. Check.

If there is anything inappropriate 
and I find out later that you didn't call 
with the key emergency word 
which means to come and get you now 
then you will not be trusted 
to go to other parties in the future.

Check.

You do remember the emergency word?
You do remember what things are inappropriate?

Yes mom. I know.

But I still had an uneasy feeling.
I sat out in the car and texted Abigail and told her how I felt.
I asked her if she would go in the bathroom 
and pray about whether or not I should leave her there.
She texted back and said "I am staying."

I then went to the neighbor across the street 
that showed signs of a bunch of kids living there 
and questioned them if they thought I could trust this boy and his brother.
They assured me that they were "good people."
I prayed and felt o.k. and then I called LG and he said he felt alright.
So I drove home.

Later in the evening, when we got the low down from Abigail 
about the party I asked her,
"Did you really go in the bathroom and pray?"
She surprised me and said, 
"Yes I did mom, and I felt o.k. about staying."
I was floored. Was she just telling me what I wanted to hear?
I do believe she was telling me the truth.

I thought about that this morning.
I thought about how I didn't intrude on my daughter's agency.
I thought about how I acted like God.
I was a concerned parent, I communicated those concerns,
but then I laid the decision making where it belonged:
in my daughter's lap.
I thought about how I was proud 
that I had taught her how to pray 
and listen for the still small voice to communicate with her.
LG and I have taught her to go to the ultimate source of wisdom:
not him and I, but to our loving and all-knowing God.

I then thought of all my friends who control their kids.
Who don't let them utilize agency.
Who don't allow them to grow and learn.
Which in turn keeps them from seeking out God in their lives.
And also in turn makes them want to rebel against being controlled.

I thought even deeper about why God gives us agency.
He wants us to learn to be like Him.
He doesn't want to control us.
Because He knows that would make us resentful.

He has a perfect knowledge of boundaries,
and he doesn't intrude on our boundaries.
And he doesn't let us intrude on His.

Agency was awesome last night.
I am sure there will be days when my kids will choose wrong,
and I will dislike agency,
but I will come back to this post
and remember this incident
and know that agency is vital
and that agency is awesome
because it's only the agency
that we can see our kids grow up
and make their own great decisions.

Don't control people.
Do this.
"Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves."

4 comments:

Klin said...

I cannot tell you how much I love this post! I have less issues with my kids than some I know, because I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves. When I have to enact a consequence I make it natural or logical and not an infinite time frame and my kiddos seem to get it.

Did I mention that I love this post! LOVE it!

JennyLynn said...

It is hard to let our children make their own choices and trust them. Even when they make the wrong choice despite teaching them right from wrong. We love them just like our Heavenly Father loves us. Funny that it took having children to teach me of his love and truly understand it.

ShEiLa said...

Way to go Alice... following your instincts and letting your kids use their agency. Yahoo!

Awesome post by the way.

ToOdLeS.

Donna said...

Love.this.post.