My oldest child never wants to go to bed at bedtime. I know it’s probably an intermittent phase, but for dramatic effect, I’ll still add — ever.
What she does want is to play all day in the sunshine (or any weather, really), read a litany of books, attend every conceivable activity, have all of her friends over to play a few rousing rounds of the game I affectionately call “Going Absolutely Berserk for Hours at a Time,” and many, many more.
The first item represents an obligation.
The list of other items represent choices.
Now, she’s still too young yet for me to go trailing very far off into the interdependent nature of the two (choices beget obligations beget choices beget…), or that, relatively speaking, there are an infinitesimally few truly obligatory obligations in this universe; but an important point must be made about a developing human’s mindset regarding obligations, choices and the distinction between the two.
Evidence from our five-plus year experiment seems to indicate that it’s in our nature to sometimes resist our obligations, and it may or may not help to understand that our obligations often come to us by our choices or that they support access to our choices (full disclosure: I’m in my 40s and I still don’t want to go to bed at bedtime)...
Even still, our obligations are what they are.
An obligation is not a choice.
Resisting the distinction only serves to frustrate.
There is freedom in getting on with whatever we’re obliged to do.
I give my kiddo kudos for owning her choices. She plays, reads, participates, and goes bananas without a hint of shame — the proud owner of her choices even in the rare instance when one of them wears on her a bit.
We still work on recalling those times when we wished we had made a different choice, but that will come with time and practice.
If you made a choice and you like it, it’s your life.
Affirm the value of your choice.
If you made a choice and you don’t like it, it’s still your life.
Embrace the simple, clarifying knowledge that you have a choice.
If you’re faced with an obligation…
Do yourself a favor and just get on with it.
The trouble will very rarely be the obligation or the choice.
It’s more often the resistance.
Resist the resistance.