Tonight I got to thinking about the decision that has made the most impact in my life. I asked my husband what his was and he ever so sweetly replied marrying me. Do I know how to pick em or what? Granted he may have felt I was fishing for that answer. I promise I had no agenda! Anyway, I digress.
I am 31, almost 32, and have made a LOT of decisions over the years. Plenty of bad ones no doubt, but plenty of good ones too. There were a lot of choices I have made that took me to places I never thought I would go! Leaving the LDS church was one, marrying my husband another good one, having my kids at home or really having kids at ALL! All of these decisions impacted me in amazing ways, but the one that has had the most profound impact, that I can trace back to most of the amazing things I know today would have to be the decision to never hit my children.
I was spanked as a child, and yes, I turned out just fine, but that certainly wasn't because I was spanked. No, I don't blame my parents or hate them in anyway (at least not my mom), and no, I'm not going to judge you as a parent if you do. I understand why some parents make this decision, or just reactive in this way. For me, because it impacted me so negatively as a child, I just knew I never wanted my children to fear me the way I feared my parents.
Now, I could go on and on about spanking, the studies about how harmful it is, how it doesn't work for teaching children long term good habits, etc, etc. It is pretty common knowledge these days so I won't go into that. What I really wanted to talk about is how much this one decision had a snow ball effect on the rest of my life.
So anyone who has children can probably attest that just because you have children does not mean you know what you are doing. I am no different. Just because I knew I didn't want to hit my children didn't mean I knew what TO do. For the first year of my daughter's life this didn't really matter. She was just adorable and helpless for the most part and there was no real need for discipline at all. It was once she became mobile and more independent, wanting to test her world and how it worked that it was hard. So I took my parameters of not hitting my children and wanting to understand and guide my children and started looking for anything and everything I could find on parenting.
I stumbled across LOTS of gold this way. I found Alfie Kohn and Unconditional Parenting, which led me to Punished By Rewards which led me to Homeschooling books, which led me to Unschooling books, which led me to Peaceful Parenting and Dayna Martin, which led me to Pam Leo and Connection Parenting (still one of my all time favorites) and L.R. Knost, which led me to How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, which led me to Non-Violent Communication, which led me to the Four Agreements which led me to Nathaniel Branden, John Gottman, Brene Brown, and the list goes on and on.
I became passionate about relationships. I wanted to know all I could about communication and how to foster healthy communication and healthy boundaries. I wanted to see my children for the little people they were and help them through their lives. This was hugely beneficial in my relationships with my children, but I had no idea that it would also hugely benefit the relationship between me and my husband! I learned how to see that everyone has a story behind their actions and just wants to be understood.
This one decision opened me up to everything I know now about relationships, communication, empathy, compassion, respect, love, boundaries, and so much more. I love my little munchkins and can honestly say this one decision has impacted me in the most profound ways.
What was the decision that impacted you and your life the most?