One morning one of my girls insisted on wearing her hot pink dress with the big orange flower in the center of the chest. She was so excited and proud of herself for picking out her own outfit. She had matched the dress with her hot pink and white polka dot flowered leggings along with her hot pink sneakers! Her outfit was a girly girl’s dream…hot pink, flowers and polka dots everywhere!
She came running into the room to greet me screaming, “Look Mommy, I’m all dressed and I match!” I looked at her and gasped! I quickly mirrored her smile and mimicked her excitement, but on the inside I wasn’t so excited and almost bit a hole in my tongue trying to hold back my real opinion!
The dress is adorable and so are the leggings but together, not so much! What I failed to mention is that the bottom of her adorable hot pink dress is brown and orange…ruffled PLAID.
That is correct, friends. My sweet girl matched her plaid ruffled dress with her polka dot leggings and was brimming with confidence! Her mind and her heart were set.
I thought long and hard about this one.
My first thought was, “She cannot go to school like this. It doesn’t get much worse than polka dots and plaid. I am going to make her change.” This was quickly followed by my 2nd thought, “Who cares?”
Guess which thought won?
Off to school my 4-year-old went in orange, pink, brown, plaid, polka dots and flowers. On this particular day, I decided that it just didn’t matter. I made an intentional decision to not focus on something that really didn’t matter! In this case, my decision meant that off to school my 4 -year old went…happy!
With a house full of girls, I am learning to choose my battles wisely. Sometimes I must simply let go.
I have to choose to take a stand based on what my husband and I value as important.
Let’s not get caught in a battle of the wills. We will not win their hearts by winning every battle.
Here’s my advice: The next time you are about to jump into the ring over an outfit, snack preference, or a choice of hair bows, use these brief tips to help you decide if it’s a battle worth fighting or if you should save your energy for another day:
1. Is it a Biblical issue? Does what your daughter is wanting, contradict the very faith and Godliness that your family professes?
2. How does it affect others? Philippians 2:14-15 says “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
Paul is encouraging the believers in Philippi that the primary affect they are to have as Christ followers is that of “bright lights” and we should be thinking the same thing as we send our girls out. In other words, does what our girls want reinforce or taint their ability to shine bright?
3. Is it in direct conflict with a family instruction or guideline? Sometimes as a family, you will have standards that have nothing to do with right or wrong. There are some guidelines that aren’t about biblical standards or shininess. For example, you may decide that your girls can’t have sugar after 7pm on a school night. Once your standard is set, stick with it, knowing that children need to know, learn, respect and value boundaries.
Remember, in order to shape her will you need to allow her the space to learn the difference that her choices make. If she never feels like she has choice and her decisions are always handed down to her from you, she will not be growing in her understand of what healthy choices look like.
I challenge you to set the parameters and choose to focus and fight for things that matter!