“It’s the Silly Silo! Come on, Micah! Go with me!”
My teenage daughter knew better than to ask me. The Silly Silo is a ride that only silly people who enjoy vomiting would subject themselves to. You go into a barrel that spins faster and faster until the bottom drops out and you’re “stuck” to the wall by centrifugal force. Ummmm… why?
I couldn’t believe she thought her 10-year-old brother would join her in her silo insanity. As soon as Micah hit the magic 54” tall mark, we begged, bargained and pleaded with him to go on roller coasters and other crazy rides with us. He. Would. Not. Budge. So I was certain that my stubborn boy would tell his thrill-seeking sister to get over her silly self.
Until he didn’t.
His father and I were speechless when he looked at her, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Sure.”
Sure?! Sure?! My husband, Mike, looked worried. “If he hates that thing, you know we are in for a very long day. He won’t go on anything else ever.”
I held my breath as Micah came off the Silo of Stupidity. As he got closer, he ran over to us with a huge smile on his face. “That was awesome!! What’s next?!”
After we conquered some coasters, I asked him what changed his mind about park rides. He looked at me and said, “I just wanted to.”
No amount of begging or bargaining could convince him until he decided he wanted to.
Isn’t that the way it is in parenting? We have to insist on certain things, of course, like being respectful, doing homework, helping out around the house. But as my kids are getting older, I’m finding I have to let them make more and more decisions on their timetable. Even when I know their choices are causing them to miss out on some amazing “roller coaster” experiences.
This has been tough to take. It challenges my pride and expectations. What if they choose to fail? Act irresponsibly? Make me look bad? Reject what I’ve taught them? Challenge their faith?
The truth of the matter is that I can guide, instruct and tell them what I know to be true. But I often can’t control what they ultimately choose to do and believe. I have to trust that God is working in their hearts and minds. That they’ll learn from their mistakes. That He’ll use their ill-advised detours to make them into the people that He designed them to be.
Last year, my very talented, athletic daughter, Molly, decided she didn’t want to play soccer anymore – for the first time since she played for the Bumblebees at five years old. “I hate this! I’m done!” she yelled. She resented that it cut into her “social life” and half-heartedly limped to the end of that season.
Very reluctantly, we let her sit out last year. Even though it was disappointing. Even though we thought she was squandering her talents.
Then, one day over the summer — a full year after she hung up her cleats — she casually said, “I miss soccer. A lot.”
Oh, really? I said nonchalantly. When Mom acts like something is too important, it’s the Kiss of Death.
Then nothing. She didn’t mention it much again until a few weeks before soccer signups.
“I want to play soccer. And I don’t care if any of my friends do it. I’m playing.”
Last night, my husband walked toward the field to pick Molly up from one of her first practices. From a distance, he saw a girl burning up the field with moves like Mia Hamm. He told me he thought, “Wow, I wish Molly would hustle like that.” When he got closer, he realized that the soccer phenom was, in fact, his daughter.
Just like her brother, she made her move when she was ready.
And thinking I can force those kind of choices is, well, just plain silly.