We hear it all the time. People have strong opinions about how you educate your kids, how many children you should have, what kind of risks are acceptable, . . .
When we choose something that is “different” than someone else’s choice, for some reason, we get push-back. We also get sent a message that we aren’t allowed to talk about it being hard. As if being “hard” is a sign that it’s a bad choice.
One of the hurdles I had to get over when we chose to homeschool our kids was that people I loved thought it was a bad idea. It has continued to be something that makes it hard to share when our homeschool days are difficult. I know if I express those difficulties, I won’t get support. I’ll get a message that says, “You shouldn’t be doing this.”
So, I say nothing at all.
I’m not the only one who has stopped talking. There are risk-takers in our lives that are silent right now.
The risk takers hear a message that is sometimes implied and sometimes spoken out loud:
“You chose this path and you don’t have the right to complain.”
In fact, on the days that are hard, we all know that certain people aren’t safe. They will hear your struggle and do the opposite of encouraging you. They regale you with stories of other people who made similar choices and how poorly it turned out.
Why do we respond this way to people who choose something “other”?
So, we choose to be quiet when the days are hard. We don’t dare say how hard it is to chase a dream to someone who thought to chase it was a bad idea to start with.
People are going to make choices that you don’t understand:
- They might homeschool their kids. Please don’t tell them anecdotes about kids who didn’t do well in that system.
- They might send their kids to public school. Please don’t tell them anecdotes about kids who didn’t do well in that system.
- They might choose to have a big family. Please don’t tell them how they will never be able to support all their kids emotionally or financially.
- They might choose to be foster parents. Please don’t tell them you think it’s too risky.
- They might choose to get out of debt.
- They might choose to adopt.
Have the risk-takers in your life become more silent? It might be due to the fact that they don’t believe you’re on their team.
One of the best gifts you can give the risk-takers in your life is to give them the benefit of the doubt that they have thought through their decisions and weighed the pros and cons and made the decision they thought was best. Treat them like you believe they are wise enough to make good choices- even if you don’t understand them.
Have you ever found yourself holding back from being honest about seasons that are difficult because of how others interpret struggle as an indication that you made the wrong choice?