What was Dad Thinking?

dad-thinking

 

In 1939 my father was starting his senior year at Star Valley High School when he had the brilliant (or perhaps bizarre) idea. He decided he was going to sleep outside in a tent all winter. He grew up on a farm in Afton, Wyoming where it was not uncommon for the winter temperature to reach 30 to 40 degrees below zero, Fahrenheit.

It was in this environment where he learned two of life’s most important lessons: 1) his pants had to be folded and placed inside the covers of his bed or they would freeze; and 2) if his pants froze he had to hit them against the tent pole before he could put them on to go milk the cows.

He slept every night that winter in the tent, and every morning he woke up in the freezing cold, put on his pants and went to milk the cows. I asked him why he did such a crazy thing and his answer was simple, “because I wanted to!”

I wondered why my grandparents let him do it. I don’t know the answer but perhaps it was as simple as assuming he was old enough to make his own decisions.

His reasoning will remain a mystery. As I think about his unusual choice I am particularly impressed with my grandparents. I am certain they thought it was a strange idea but they let him make his own choice and then they let him live with the consequences.

I have often wondered how much freedom of choice we allow our children and then after they make their decision do we let them implement it and live with the consequences? Of course, we must monitor the situation and also restrain ourselves and let them stretch as we watch the results of their choice. There’s a fine balance here. Let’s help them learn responsibility for their choices through our unconditional love, trust, and support.


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Anne's Corner

By Anne Evans-Cazier, LCSW

When your child has an idea about something they want to do or try for themselves, how often do you say, “No” and how often do you say, “Yes?”  I’m not talking about ideas they have for things they want you to do.  This is not about buy this for me, or fix this for me, or take me there, or, well you get the picture.  That’s a whole different question. Try an experiment; start with just one day, maybe even today.  Try saying “yes” to as many ideas as you safely can that your child has for themselves.  Yes you can sleep in a tent, yes you can build a fort in the living room, yes you can paint.  Try saying, “Sounds fun/interesting.  You’ve got some great ideas.  Do you have a plan?”  This is a good opportunity to create teaching moments and help them learn how to pursue their visions.  Teach them how to plan, prepare, follow through, and then clean up.  You will help them become more self-confident as you also strengthen the foundation of your relationship.

Anne's Corner

By Anne Evans-Cazier, LCSW

When your child has an idea about something they want to do or try for themselves, how often do you say, “No” and how often do you say, “Yes?”  I’m not talking about ideas they have for things they want you to do.  This is not about buy this for me, or fix this for me, or take me there, or, well you get the picture.  That’s a whole different question. Try an experiment; start with just one day, maybe even today.  Try saying “yes” to as many ideas as you safely can that your child has for themselves.  Yes you can sleep in a tent, yes you can build a fort in the living room, yes you can paint.  Try saying, “Sounds fun/interesting.  You’ve got some great ideas.  Do you have a plan?”  This is a good opportunity to create teaching moments and help them learn how to pursue their visions.  Teach them how to plan, prepare, follow through, and then clean up.  You will help them become more self-confident as you also strengthen the foundation of your relationship.