{Unedited} The Character of Choice

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We fought through a history of co-dependence. Of family overreach and lack of self to instill in our children that they get to not only choose who they want to be as they grow but they get to choose the people they allow to influence their lives.
The voices that speak into it.
I have been proud, and grateful to watch them one by one choose kindness, compassion and a growing respect for those around them.  The kind of respect that is given first from a place in their own character regardless of capacity or differences, and then continued as a testament to their value of another as they come to better understand the character of those receiving.
Both are important in a healthy life.  Both are important in a healthy community.
We want them to think.  To educate themselves and come to an understanding outside of our own opinion.
We want them to make choices that they feel solidly in their heart, and we want them to do that at their own pace.
It can be an uncomfortable thing, this leaving them to their own understanding while they grow.  We don’t always agree, and when this happens we’ve worked hard to teach the respect that comes with a grateful heart and a sound mind.  Both our and theirs.
We challenge them to see others as the individuals we hope that they each have the courage to be.  To be comfortable with the differences they might represent and see the value such relationships can bring to their life.   And then we hope, with all that we are, that we have taught them each how to voice their own differences.  The disagreements within perspective that ring true at their core.  Truths that are sometimes lonely.  We hope that we have taught them to raise their words not their voice.  The clarity of their argument, not their defenses.
We hope, that in a world of offense and passive aggression we have taught them how to speak clearly, with kindness and accept the response that is returned with compassion.

Compassion for each other.  Compassion for their neighbor.  Compassion for themselves.
Tonight I  witnessed the reward of parenting by faith as I sat and listened to my children express their concern for those who have long been the voices in their life.  Tonight I saw the uncontrolled authenticity of teaching my children to listen with an open heart and reason with a fierce mind.  A mind filled with the understanding of Grace and what that looks like in practice.  Tonight my children taught me when they kindly asked my opinion on how to let go of comfortable influence that no longer taught or grew.  In a country where bitterness is reigning my children, these tender and firm individuals who I love and support as the adults they are striving to become, taught me about boundaries.  About the way love looks when someone you love is causing harm.  Tonight my children taught me saying no is sometimes still saying yes.  Yes to a right mind and a loving heart.  Yes to freedom and the truth of belief.

Tonight my children taught me about the grief of differences and the acceptance in letting go.

I accept your right to believe the way you do.  I accept my right to not make your words a part of my life.

In our damaged and angry world it is easy to fight for ourselves.  To argue and strike at those around us, those away from us, with bitter words and defiance. Indignant over the injustice of our own space.

In our damaged world we seem to be at war.  As a nation.  As a tribe.  As a people.

Sitting in the quiet moment of truth stretched by earnest words and the clarity of a well-grown youth, my children taught me that I can be at peace.  The battle is already won.  In their struggle.  In their understanding.  In their boundaries.  In their incredible capacity to walk in the Grace that has spent a lifetime being worn.  A Grace that offers power.  A Grace that offers freedom.  A Grace that reminds us of right mind and the gift of compassion.  Of letting go because I AM, and Love.

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