Copyright 2017 Courtney Vallejo. All rights reserved.
This article first appeared on Catholicmom.com and then I was asked by Tidings Magazine, if they could reprint the article. It appeared in their March/April 2018 edition.
The other day my two oldest children got to go on a professional basketball game and I was left with the tricky choice of sending my 5-year-old or keeping him home. He wanted to go so badly, and I wanted him to have that memory, but we were also on vacation and he’d be getting to bed so late. I didn’t want to risk him being drained the next few days. After agonizing over it for days, going back and forth about whether he’d always remember the time he didn’t get to go, in the end I decided he shouldn’t go. I kept him with me and in an attempt to make his night memorable I told him we were going to get ice cream sundaes.
We were staying with my aunt and she lived right down the street from a Dairy Queen.I imagined this being an amazing drive-thru adventure. As we were about to leave, I mentioned Dairy Queen to her and she informed me that they had closed. The look of horror on my face sent her into hysterical laughter. My plan was failing! The options left were the cheap drive-thru or the expensive ice cream shop. Needing to save face I decided on the expensive one. As we drove by the cheap one, he saw it, and begged for us to go there. There’s nothing special about that one; in fact I never really like their sundaes — but to him, it’s a treat. I asked him if he wanted the expensive one but he reaffirmed his desire for the cheap one.
Realizing this was about him and his memories, I settled for the cheap drive-thru. Later, as I thought about the event, I compared it to the choices and plans God has for us. He always wants to give us the absolute best! He wants us to feast on the what will fill us at a deeper level, yet we’re quick to jump at the scraps and settle for the drive-thru.
If my son had let me pick the ice cream for him, he would have gotten a two-scoop sundae made from fancy ice cream flavors complete with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. Instead he got some flavorless vanilla soft-serve with M&M’s. Maybe he’s teaching me a lesson on humility, but I think it’s bigger than that. He went with what was familiar. He didn’t take the risk of the place he wasn’t sure about. He settled with the safe choice. What if I’m settling with the safe choice? What if I’m not taking those risks in life that God is offering me? And ultimately how can I know if I’m settling or if I should demand more?
Ultimately my plan to “distract” him didn’t work because he woke up the next morning asking why he didn’t get to go to the game! Ugh, the life of a parent! But it got me thinking; I really want to show my children how to discern their choices and weigh their options and most importantly learn to listen that nudging parental push from God, encouraging us to choose the best!
What steps do you take in your discernment process to ensure you’re making the best choice?