Everyday we are given hundreds of choices. We are not conscious of the impact each microscopic decision makes in our lives because they seem to be so small. But one choice leads to another and those pocket-sized choices create the change we see in our lives whether it is for the good or for the bad.
As I walked the aisles of the grocery store well before any other customers arrived this morning, I looked at the displays and became overwhelmed by the alternatives. First I thought, “Do we really need 75 different types of cereal?” Then I questioned, “Maybe this is our problem. Maybe we are paralyzed by choice.” We are so deluged by the mere quantity of our options that we say, “Screw it!” And we throw in the towel. We bury our heads and we keep ourselves busy as a distraction from the enormity of it all. But…
While we are busy rushing from one moment to the next, paying no mind to our tiny decisions; they are busy forming the course of our lives.
All this in the cereal aisle. I kid you not. And I thought I was just breezing through. When I finally walked away from the display of rainbow colors and mini nuggets of sugar offered as breakfast food, I realized the grocery store is a pretty solid reflection of the noise in our lives. We are inundated with fluff, chaos, and consumption at every turn. So what is a modern mama or papa to do?
WE LIMIT OUR CHOICES
- Sort out the needs versus the wants of your family. Chocolate is a want. Not a need. Just in case you were looking for clarification. Sometimes I need clarification.
- Listen to your inner voice. It will never steer you wrong. Unless it steers you to McDonald’s. In that case, you might need to pull over and fine tune your listening instrument. Listening to your inner voice means trusting your own instincts even if they don’t make sense. Take the time to sort out what is your voice or the voice coming from the drive-thru window.
- Remind yourself it is okay to say, “No!” Supermoms and superdads are not real. I promise. Fantasy. Pure fantasy. The world will not stop if you decline an offer. The world will not stop if you unload some responsibility. The world will not stop if you limit your child’s scheduled activities. Saying (No!) means you are saying (Yes!) to your values and priorities as a person and as a family.
We don’t want to wait for anxiety or depression to creep in and wake us up. We don’t want to wait for illness to come knocking at our door. We work to remain aware of each small choice understanding its reach and ramifications. Remember, you set the pace for life. Your children are watching and learning. Big change is not the result of an overnight decision. It is the result of an overnight decision put into action day after day after day, choice after choice after choice. We just have to be willing to look past the noise or, in my case, the cereal aisle.