Everything matters. Some things matter more than others, of course, but quite honestly…everything matters. However, we somehow have learned to ignore the impact of our choices. So, for a moment, let’s pretend…

Let’s Pretend These Moments Don’t Matter:

  • Yelling at our kids or our spouse isn’t that bad, since others certainly yell louder, or use more profanity. As the kids get older, and begin to yell back at you more often, it infuriates you to be treated that way. Yet, let’s pretend you didn’t teach them how to do that.
  • Allowing kids to eat simple carbs, sugary foods and junk because it’s simply easier. Perhaps they are 30 pounds overweight, and their pediatrician has gently urged a change, but you insist it’s hard to control their eating, or complain that they have always been a picky eater. Let’s pretend you couldn’t have cleared out the pantry, put yourself on a healthy path to ensure the whole family would eat better.
  • Letting your son play hours upon hours of video games because everyone else is doing it. And, of course, he would be furious if this were not permitted or you set some serous limits on this. What would he do? Let’s pretend that this is the ‘new, modern way’ for kids to bond and have healthy relationships, despite the negative attitude, addictive behavior and the absence of real, genuine social behavior.
  • Your phone is always in your hand, and with every ‘ting’ you pick it up to respond. And always, you justify it if someone comments. ‘Oh, it’s the sitter. Oh, I must see if they made it in the door. Oh, my sister isn’t feeling well.’ And of course, you look around, and you notice someone is always on their phone, so you find your judging thoughts of others protect you from seeing your own habit clearly. But let’s keep pretending that what you model will not matter, and that where you are investing your time will not affect the relationship with your spouse or your children.
  • Reacting with emotion, anger and frustration time and time again, justifying it by blaming the child for their poor behavior. And of course, your parents were like that, and hey, ‘You turned out okay…right!’ Even though the mornings are stressful, the homework is a battle and their rooms are a wreck, that’s just because they haven’t learned to listen yet. So, let’s pretend you can just keep yelling, and everything will eventually be okay and underneath all this reactivity, ‘hey, they will still know you love them.’
  • Your son or daughter spends all their time doing what they want to do, and still are miserable, even when getting exactly what they want. When they demand this or that, perhaps you negotiate a bit, but hey…they are relentless. You give in. They have their phone, computer, unlimited internet access, all the clothes they could possibly want and attend every social event in a fifty-mile radius perhaps. Yet, they do nothing to support the family, the community or the home. You fight and battle, yet no chores get done. Let’s pretend they will learn to be responsible, happy and successful because doing what we want right now is the formula for success and happiness, right?
  • Your kids listen to profane, negative messages in their music and you see how hard it is to manage this. It’s just so difficult. It would take time to come up with a solution. You don’t have that kind of time. And again, isn’t every kid listening to this now? Let’s take a BIG pretend, and smile while we think that these messages will not shape their attitude toward others, and their outlook on life.
  • The Best Pretend: These Are All About Your Neighbor or Your Spouse. Not you. Now, doesn’t that feel better!

No More Pretend: Everything Matters!

The research base for this conclusion is ever-expanding, as it appears that every choice we make matters. And not just the obvious ones I mention above, but even the more subtle influences are shaping us and our children. Everything we expose ourselves and our children to has an effect upon our future. Everything we read, watch or absorb is molding us. Every food we consume is shaping our bodies and our minds. Every video game is building an emotional and cognitive habit. Every time we react, we are nurturing the habit of reactivity. Every indulged emotion will want to be indulged even more next week. Even the questions we ask ourselves and our children are shaping thought patterns.

The art we see. The music we listen to. The blogs we read. The shows we watch. The violence we accept in language and behavior…These are all matter.

Many people simply reject the idea that ‘everything matters.’ It is so much easier to pretend that almost nothing matters. It seems that a simple rejection of this reality frees us from taking full responsibility for our lives, as individuals and as parents. We can then continue to do what we want to do… how we want to do it…regardless of where this might be pointing our destiny, or the destiny of our children.

But the choice is right in front of you. It is not easy to shift the direction of your family, or your life. But you can do it!

First, you must simply open your eyes to where these choices are taking you and your family. Then, get ready for some tough choices, and some drama. The family herd may resist, but that’s okay. Making it easy now will make it harder later.

So do the right thing. Consider every choice and see where you can shift the now the destiny of your family’s future.