There’s always a choice

 In find peace in parenting, Latter-Day Saint
Halfway through my husband’s naval career he headed back to sea duty.  Although we had done this before, this time around we had three children so I knew it would be a very different experience.  I knew other Navy wives who became bitter about how many days each year their spouse was gone.  The last thing I wanted was to become bitter, too, so I made a conscious choice to:  1) not keep a running total of the days my husband was out to sea; and, 2) to use the time we would have normally spent together to become a better version of myself.
It’s so easy to get sucked into thinking that a hard situation can only bring you misery or resentment or heartache, but that’s simply not true.  I couldn’t change the ship’s schedule so my husband wouldn’t miss birthdays or would be there to help take care of things when I was sick or just plain tired.  I certainly couldn’t change the fact that our country was attacked on September 11, 2001, by terrorists, which meant even more separation for our family.  The only thing I had control over was what kind of person I was going to be throughout and at the end of our “sea time.”
The same principle applies when you’re in the trenches of parenting your teens and young adults.  Only you get to decide if each experience that comes your way because of the choices your son is making will leave you with an overall feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, or even bitterness.  But I guarantee it’s not the only choice.
Hope is possible.
Confidence is possible.
Even peace is possible.
Odds are these feelings of hope, confidence, and/or peace won’t automatically appear when your son tells you he’s not going to serve a mission or when he quits going to church altogether or whatever your son is doing that makes you feel anxious or at least concerned about his spiritual welfare.  But the useful feelings are still available to you.
If you felt hope, what would you do differently right now?  Perhaps you could see the lessons for good being learned (by both you and your son).
If you felt confident, what would be different in your life right now?  Perhaps you would better know when to speak up and when to be quiet.
If you felt peace in your heart right now, what would that look like?  Perhaps you would remember that we are each on a journey to learn the things Heavenly Father needs us to learn and your son’s journey is his to take and how lucky he is that youare his mom.

Your situation doesn’t define you.  You get to decide how you feel ~ even when you wish things were different.  And that’s the good news!

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