Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Choices ...

My youngest son will start mostly every sentence with, “He made me do it.” My response is always, “No one can make you do anything, you make your own choices and when you do, the consequences are based on your choices.”

Granted, he’s only six years old and that concept may be a little too much for him right now. It’s easier for him to say that it is someone else’s fault anytime he’s in trouble rather than owning up to it himself.

Peer pressure?

I’ve thought about how as adults we either take responsibility for our actions or not. Is it always someone else’s fault? Really? My reply to that is anything that happens to you is a result of your choices and only your choices.

I had a friend that would peer pressure me into things I really didn’t want to do. Even as an adult, I felt like I couldn’t say “no” to the stupid thing she wanted to do next. I wouldn’t say they were terrible things, just things I really didn’t want to do. That’s when I still hadn’t figured out that I have problems saying "no" and setting boundaries.

I find that I’ve come a long way from those days. I have trained myself to think before I reply. I usually never give an answer right away. I sleep on it and then decide how I feel. I find that my decisions are a lot more balanced and peaceful that way.

The choice of a meal plan

I’ve recently put together a weekly meal plan for our family. I got the idea from a fantastic book called, “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne. Truly, it has taken the stress out of grocery shopping and figuring out meals for us. The kids have come to love fish Wednesdays just as much as staek Mondays.

It has brought predictability into our house that is truly harmonizing. Due to my meal plan, I’ve found that I am less inclined to go out to dinner during the middle of the week anymore. I used to go out with just my friends every once in a while and now I find that my choice is to not do that or set that up. It is my choice to have as many family dinners as I can. I truly love that time with my family.

Our kids take turn saying a blessing every night. I feel it allows us all to exhale and enjoy the next 45 minutes to an hour of dinner time together. We’re not as rushed and hectic anymore. Our conversations are a lot deeper than we could have imagined as well.

Our kids will tell us about their day at school and we might share how our day went. Last night, my son was asking about nuns and somehow we ended up talking about Mother Teresa and how wonderful a human being she was.

What a great experience we’ve had!

I feel that thinking about the choices we make allows us so much more depth in our lives. The choice of a meal plan and having dinner at 6:30 pm every night as a family has brought a richness to our family life that is amazing.

Our free nights are Fridays and Saturdays. That allows us the opportunity to order pizza or go out to dinner if that’s what we feel like doing. The nights when my husband is out of town, we still continue our trend and it allows the kids and I to maintain some of our balance with an unbalanced

What a great choice that was for our family!

Your thoughts … I’d love to hear them

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Thinking before acting!


  1. When Mary first proposed the idea of a family dinner plan I was a bit skeptical but just like most of her ideas this has been a really good one. Our family time reminds me of my childhood, where we ate dinner the same time almost every night, regardless of basketball games and other commitments. It really has been great, but on the other side of things I'm not sure if I agree with her self assessment that she doesn't know how to say no :).


    The Husband

  2. It reminds me of when I was a kid too. We had lunch and dinner as a family every single day and it was awesome.

    I hope our boys grow up with fond memories of having such quality time together.

    I didn't say I had a problem saying no now, that is certainly a thing of the past :)

  3. Dear Mary, your post reminds me when I was in the UK staying with a British family in which dinner was served each day at 6pm sharp. And on the table when asked by the household if I want from a particular dish, I had the choice to accept by saying:"yes please" or reject by saying:"no thank you". :)

  4. Joseph,
    I grew up with a 6 pm dinner time. It was such a source of comfort for me in my day. I didn't really realize how much I enjoyed those dinners until I started having them in my family too.