Friday, July 6, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake!

As some of my readers know I have struck a deal with my children that when they reach the seasoned old age of ten they will be able to paint their bedroom ceilings like Michelangelo painted the Sistene.  They have to design and construct their own scaffolding but they get to paint whatever they please.  I do not have the patience of a saint and part of me is rather cringing at the prospect of what might arise but nevertheless I have always believed that it  is not a parent's job to prove controling.  I frequently push myself to the limit, take a breath and then keep going in order to give my children as much freedom as I possibly can. 

I believe I have seen many families in which the parents have proven overly controlling about what the children wear, do, think, believe and the like.  I realize that such parents often do so out of love, but I have always wondered what these children might have done later in life had they had freedom to pursue their own course a bit more.  Where would Leonardo da Vinci have been if he submitted to the authority around him?  And how much worse off would the world be without his genius?

One thing we might do well to comprehend is that each person has his or her own divine fire and intellectual capabilities.  Mormonism allows baptism at the age of eight so that it will be the person's own choice and not coerced.  My daughter has informed me she refuses to be baptized.  She is afraid of the water.  Deep breath, Michelle.  Calm countenance.  It is after all, her own choice.  I will never cross her on that for I also want it to be done of her own volition.  In the interim I will let her refuse all she wants and continue to love and teach her.  Perhaps she will change her mind.  But even if she doesn't, she is not the less in my eyes.  She is just her own independent person.  Mormonism also usually suggests that young men serve missions at the age of 19.  My son has decided he doesn't want to do so.  That is his choice.  I will love him and set an example of love for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If he catches that same conviction nothing in this world will stop him from serving a mission of his own volition.  My daughter has told me she isn't going to college.  Nevertheless, I am lovingly instilling a passion for learning in her.  Sometimes we need to remember that first and foremost people are individuals and not our creations to manipulate.


  1. Wow, this is a very interesting and thoughtful topic! I love that you give your children the chance to make their own decisions, and that you don't sweat it when they choose different than you would have them choose. What an amazing mother you are! I hope someday your children realize and appreciate what you're doing for them! And I really really hope to see those Michaelangelo ceilings when they turn 10! How cool is that?! I always wanted to paint a sky on my bedroom ceiling as a child. My mom told me no!

  2. Thanks sweetie! I hope they do too but even if they don't it isn't my journey - it's theirs. I want to see the ceilings too. My son has decided to paint outer space and all the planets on his. My daughter mostly just wants to wildly splash paint around and giggle at the mess. We'll see!