The Unpopular Choice


At the end of the school year everything goes on hyper-speed. In the eight week period between Spring Break and the end of the term, there are a multitude of school-sponsored events, both during the day and after school – School Pride Week, Field Day, the Ice Cream Social, the Art Fair, the Spring Music Concert, field trips, Teacher Appreciation Week…you get the idea. Adding to the insanity, the spring sports season is also firing on all cylinders. This is a set-up for a scheduling disaster. You just know that something, somewhere, is going to overlap and someone is not going to be happy. And when that time comes, what choice do you make?

This was our dilemma last week – “A” had both, his school orchestra concert and the first game in his baseball playoffs on the same night. With loyalties and commitments on both sides, which do you choose – and who decides?

Now, it might not seem like such a difficult decision, in our family, school commitments trump everything. But sometimes, as a parent, you have to look at the bigger picture and consider all the factors – sometimes taking the road you wouldn’t likely travel. Not only because that’s what your kid wants, but because in the scope of things, it’s the right thing to do.

“A” desperately wanted to play in the baseball game and skip the concert…so we agreed with his decision. Yes, he made a commitment to the orchestra, but he also made a commitment to his baseball team. Because he takes private music lessons that sometimes require “A” to skip ball games, and he’s sacrificed sports for music on more than one occasion, and for this reason we were ok with his decision to participate in the game, rather than the concert.

Of course this did not go over well with his homeroom and orchestra teacher, both of whom expressed their disappointment that he would not be there, reminding him that he had made a commitment to the orchestra. But he also had a commitment to his baseball team – and which commitment is more important? And WHY would anyone try to put a guilt trip on a 10 year-old child for his choices!

That afternoon, he got into the car at pick-up with a hangdog look on his face. Feeling terrible, I explained that sometimes people aren’t going to like the choices that you make – they’re going to be disappointed that you didn’t do the thing that they wanted you to do. And that’s ok – because you can’t please everyone all the time. We talked about how carefully he weighed his options and the thoughtfulness that went into making his decision, and after much consideration, how he had made the the best choice for him, the one that made him happy. I told him, “Don’t let other people’s disappointment dictate your choices, if you live your life always doing what other people think is the right thing for you, you’re never going to be truly happy.”

This is a tough lesson to learn – it took me a long time to try to stop pleasing everyone else to the detriment of myself – and one that I still struggle with. But I don’t want “A” to go through life thinking that he has to live with regrets because he was trying to please other people. As a parent, I think you often feel the strongest about those issues that you dealt with (or are still dealing with!) and make a conscious effort to prevent your kids from falling into those same traps.

Interestingly, I’m still thinking about this and he’s moved on…#stilldealingwithissues!


5 thoughts on “The Unpopular Choice

  1. You rock Ann! At least you were able to seize that as a teaching moment, even though it was hard for you and “A”. I hope I can think on my feet just as quickly as you did! Good call.


  2. You are such a great mama Ann! I’m sorry the school made your son feel badly but like Jen said, you did such a great job teaching him about the importance of putting thought into his decisions.


  3. That’s tough that his school gave him a hard time. I respect this decision and more so, the thought that you and he put into it. I think that’s a good lesson to learn and I don’t feel like he’s slacking in his commitment by skipping one concert.


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