There are so many life possibilities for a three-year-old.

They’re learning to be autonomous; they’re separate from their parents and can make choices.

They haven’t yet learned that choices bring consequences.

Cal is an outside-of-the-box thinker. Most kids his age are because they’re not aware of the boxes they’re supposed to operate within. Adults, culture, laws are the creators of these boxes for purposes often not understood by the young.

Or even some of us older folks.

We have a racetrack at our house that he loves to play with. The little plastic pieces fit together to create tracks of all shapes where they then run battery-operated cars.

Cal has become more creative with the track pieces. He makes crowns, lion manes, and small circles where a single car can fit in and run around the house like a hamster on a wheel.

Because he wants to.

He has a strong “I wanna” disposition that pushes him to choose his desires over smarter, safer options. When he comes to our house he immediately asks for gummy bears. We keep a healthy supply because that’s what seasoned grandparents do. He prefers sweets to real food and can put up a fuss if made to eat what he doesn’t want to eat. Or if he’s restrained from eating what he desires.

His “I wanna” mentality pushes him to make poor choices. The adults of the family were sitting around our kitchen table having a conversation when Cal’s mom glanced out the window and saw him walking down the street.

He’d left because he wanted to go home. He didn’t inform anyone of his decision.

He walked out the door.

I was grateful he’d been seen before he’d gotten too far. The repercussions of such an act, even in a somewhat “safe” neighborhood, can be staggering. He could walk into the street without any attention to traffic. Someone could have grabbed him. He could have become lost and found himself in one of the ponds in our neighborhood–he’s not the best of swimmers.

We all have that “I wanna” mentality. What we desire leads us to make decisions that are unsafe, unwise, or just plain hurtful to us.

Bad choices often aren’t immediately harmful. We make a small decision to do something questionable and there are no severe consequences. Without a negative outcome, it becomes easier to continue with wrong choices. Small steps the wrong way lead to worse consequences.

These often go unnoticed until the pain of what we’re doing catches up to us.

That’s when we ask ourselves what went wrong.

Just because we want something doesn’t make it right or good.

Cal’s parents watch out for him. His dad was after him in a heartbeat, picking him up and holding him close, reprimanding him in love and protecting him from his poor choice.

God does that for us. As a good and loving Father, He reminds us of what is good and helpful for us to be all we can be. Jesus taught a way of life that gives us great freedom; He is also our safety and refuge.

We all want what we want.

Does what we want make us better, peace-filled people?

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