What to do…what to do…

…And how to decide…

Once, long ago, my adorable grandchildren spent a week with me while their mother steam cleaned carpets throughout their house.

I had many plans for fun activities and the first day went marvelously.

Until bedtime.

At bedtime, one of my sweeties began noticing the unfamiliarity of everything, and how Mom and Dad were at home, where she was beginning to long to be, also.

In other words, at the most contemplative time for most children, my granddaughter grew homesick.

She was serious about it, too, complete with tears.

After a short conference with Granddad, I offered her to call home. She was eager, and visited with Mom and Dad for a bit. We assured them we would try to make staying with us work but would call before we came if it didn’t.

At that time, the ball was back in my court.

I thought about times I’d had a tough decision to make. This was a tough decision for a little one: Do I want fun with Grandmother or do I want my mommy?

My tough decision days are mostly over, but I remember them. I know we second-guess ourselves into a state of shock sometimes, because I’ve been there. I also know it’s not too hard to hurdle indecision and arrive at a good choice.

Here’s what I told my granddaughter that night, that made her decide immediately and happily for the right thing:

Sweetheart, whenever Grandmother has to choose what to do, I think about what will happen if I do each choice. I think about how I will feel about it after the choice.

For you, the choice is to stay here with brother and sister and have fun with us, lots of rides, special treats, places to go, making cookies, and many other fun things. OR you can go home right now; I will take you and you can be with Mom and Dad in your own home and in your own bed.

English: Mohov Mihail. Grandmother and grandda...

Mohov Mihail. Grandmother and granddaughter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She listened intently and I could tell she was liking what I said, as if it was lining up her tortuous thoughts for her, in itself a great help. I continued:

If I take you home, though, you will stay home the whole week. I will not come back and get you again, if you change your mind again. You’ll just be at home.

Nothing fun is happening at home. Daddy is going to work every day and Mom is spending all the time you are gone, with house cleaning. It’s hard work and she will not have time to play with you. In fact, she probably will ask you to help with all that work.

If you decide to stay tonight and play with us tomorrow, and if you still don’t like it then, I will take you home, to spend the rest of the time working with Mom.

But if you decide to stay until tomorrow, we will make beanbags, sample the apple juice popsicles we made today, bake cookies, and barbecue for supper.

I saw her tense up again, which told me I was describing the entire dilemma accurately. Lastly, I talked about her feelings as they would be on the other side of her decision:

So tell me how you will feel tomorrow, if you go home tonight. You will wake up and find no one to play with and only mom working all day long. You’ll have nothing to do but help her or play by yourself. And you will know brother and sister are here, playing, doing lots of fun things, but you will not be able to come back here because I cannot keep driving two hours every day because you changed your mind. So you’ll go to bed that night in your room without Sister there and you’ll know she’s here having fun.

And think how you will feel if you stay the night here, tonight, and you wake up tomorrow ready to play and make cookies and help granddad start the barbecue fire and all the new sand toys we got you will be waiting for you. And then the next day we do the camping , remember? And something special for the day after that, that you don’t even know about, yet.

Which do you want?

Well, I can tell you, she had a smile and a hug and she was all relieved of all those horrible second guesses. She knew what to do, at least that one night, for sure.

Would this method help you make a few decisions?

If so, the main things are:

  1.  List all the pros and cons. Do this on paper unless you just do not have time.
  2. Ask yourself how you will feel after each possible choice. Ask yourself about a month later or even a year later: How will you feel about the choice?

That’s all there is to it. Some decisions are too tough to fit into this simple exercise, but those that are a good fit will become SO much easier! You’ll have brain cells left over!

This post was my first, ever, attempt at the weekly writing challenge.

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10 thoughts on “What to do…what to do…

  1. Shofar says:

    Katherine, I give you First Place Blue Ribbon Smartest Grandma award! I do recall a couple of times when my grandchildren were picked up late at night! ~Liz

  2. 2flames1soul says:

    Wonderful grandma advice(though I wish I would have thought of that years ago with my childrens cousins 😉
    As I read this I was thinking about my grandchildren and my heart warmed, for how blessed we are !!
    You first time for the challenge turned out wonderfully….

  3. Cassie says:

    this is exactly how I make decisions, how I challenged my daughter to make decisions, and how i give advice. You are a wonderful grandma.

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