“Make Good Choices!”

One of my favorite lines from the movie Freaky Friday is when Jamie Lee Curtis yells out to her daughter, “Make good choices!” as she drops her off at school. I adopted that line and have been using it on my own two daughters for as long as I can remember.

This past weekend was an opportunity for my oldest daughter, age 14, to make a choice on whether or not to stay home with the family and celebrate her father’s birthday or attend a high school football game with her friends. Much to my dismay, she chose the football game. That one decision of hers offered up a buffet of emotions, feelings and reactions from everyone in the family. But I am here to only speak of my own experience.

I say “make good choices” to my children because I want them to slow down enough to think about their decisions before making them. I want them to fully understand that life is a series of decisions, from what shirt to wear on a hot day and which foods will best nourish our bodies, to which event to attend when faced with two or more options. And with those choices, come the resulting consequences – good, bad or indifferent.

I was beyond disappointed with the choice my daughter made. And yet, the consequence for being the kind of mom that allows these types of choices to be made is that I am faced with the harsh reality that my children will not always choose what I would choose. While I am in that moment of being angry and disappointed, I too am forced to make a good choice: Will I be angry, resentful and harsh with my words? Or will I take the time to calm down, get rational, forgive….and then speak to my child in a loving way about my disappointment?

I chose the latter. My anger, disappointment and EGO wanted to grab her, shake her and scream at her insensitivity to her father. Instead, for 36 hours, I spoke to my daughter only about that which needed to be addressed. I got her to her soccer game on time and cheered her on, I ensured she was fed, I drove her to her babysitting job and even made a second trip to bring her allergy medicine when I found out the family had cats. The basic needs of my child were met. And yet there was no additional conversation made with her because I was struggling with the grief of her decision and how I was going to handle it. The old cliche came to mind: “When you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

In the end, by taking the time to think, rethink, embrace patience and acceptance, and practice what I was going to say, I was able to have that rational conversation with her that I so desired. I did not hold back my truth or my feelings. I expressed my disappointment and anger, but I did it in a way that didn’t bring more anger and wrath to an already sensitive situation. By coming to the conversation with patience and a true willingness to love her NO MATTER WHAT, I was able to speak to her about love, family and commitment. The conversation was a natural flow into how the effects of our actions and the consequences of our decisions, when made from a purely selfish point of view, can often cause hurt, anger and pain. There were tears, there were hugs, there was sharing and understanding. And if there is ANYTHING I wish for most in raising these two girls, it’s that there will always be open and loving communication and a peaceful understanding of our differing opinions.

Her choice last Friday night was a lesson for both of us in making good choices. For her, it was about learning how her words and actions can hurt and tear people down. It was about taking time to really think a decision through and making a choice to be a little less self-serving at times and a little more generous with your time to others. I can only hope she will make a different choice next time based on our conversation.

But it was also a huge lesson for me in making good choices. I had the choice to rip her head off and make her feel badly, or to come to her in love and communicate in a way that, hopefully, will be a ripple effect in communicating with others. In the end, we both win. While we can never get the time back that was lost that night, we can look deeply at some of our poor decisions and choose, in any given moment, to make better ones in the future. And THAT is what I call “making good choices.”


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Peggy Pennington on November 10, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Kim, this is EXCELLENT. You express yourself VERY clearly, interestingly, and it reads like a professional author!!! I am hugely impressed!

    Your Mother


  2. Posted by gratefulkim on November 11, 2009 at 2:08 am

    Thanks mama!! 🙂


    • Posted by Mentoring MOM on November 27, 2013 at 7:32 am

      I enjoyed reading your blog. I too have used this quote with my 2 daughters and I still use it from time to time as young adults. My one additional thought would be that a birthday or even a holiday can be celebrated any time. For example, we have celebrated Thanksgiving on another day when we can all be together. I have found that not being rigid on special days allows one the flexibility to at least try to do it all. There are only a few high school football games in ones life and those can’t be rescheduled, but the birthday dinner could probably be moved to another day; especially for an adult. Our family looks at calendars months out and we try to schedule those special days where we don’t foresee a conflict. Signed, A Mentoring MOM


  3. great post kim. our kids are our greatest teachers aren’t they!? i love that you are guiding your children to be independent, and make good choices, as hard as that may be at times!

    thanks for your comment today as well. yes, the list continues to grow and keeps us from creating. i’m getting better at choosing creating, but it is a constant practice for me….as i see the laundry pile starting to grow.

    happy day to you.


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