Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Enough Rope

Editor's Note: This post may disappoint some of you, as it’s not nearly the level of shallow as usual, but it’s what I feel needs to be said tonight.

We all make mistakes (stay with me…there is more profundity coming…at least I hope so). Sometimes we make big mistakes. And sometimes we even hurt people we care about. On purpose and on accident. Neither one is acceptable and both require amends be made.
As a mom, you want to keep your kids safe. And you want them to grow up to be independent. And sometimes the lessons of independence are purchased with mistakes. Sometimes total lapses in judgment, leading to big mistakes. Often mistakes which means hurting people they care about.

That’s not to say I advocate or tolerate my children hurting someone else. Of course I don’t want that. But, as we all know, life gets messy…IS messy, and injuries happen.  I always pray that it won’t be something that can’t be righted.
There are as many ways to parent as there are parents in this world. Right or wrong (or somewhere in the grey area in which we really all are swimming...NOT Shades of Grey; that's totally different and I don't fully know what that's all about. But I do know that I'm ok with not knowing what that's all about...but I digress.), we are muddling through it…together, alone or a combination there of.  

Personally, I try very hard to give the PBA enough rope with which to hang themselves (figuratively speaking, of course)…lay out options for them, let them choose and then we see how it comes out. Sometimes they pass with flying colors…they choose exactly what I had hoped they would. And sometimes I know going into a situation that they have not armed themselves correctly…they have chosen unwisely and things will probably not end well for them. Not to brag or anything, (ok maybe just a little bit) but I am typically right about the outcome.
But I have to LET THEM make that choice. If I always make the choice, then how do they grow up to be adults who make responsible choices for themselves.  Frankly, I don’t think they can.

And though I love my children very much, I do not want to make all the choices for them for the rest of their lives. Well, actually I kind of do, but I’m bossy like that. Making all the decisions now (which would make things go more smoothly, I must add) will lead to rocky paths later…people who, as adults, won’t be able to make their own decisions and who rely on others to tell them what to do. And who wants that for their kids? I know that I don’t.
This is all ugly and difficult stuff, for sure, and not anything I want my children to experience and yet…how else will they learn to be men, own up to mistakes and take their lumps if they are never given the opportunity to mess up. And I mean totally blow it...and then face the music for their actions.

They can’t.
One of my boys made a mistake today. The realization of the severity of the situation (or potential severity, in this instance) has brought my child to a place in which he is currently crying himself to sleep.  This speaks more volumes to me about his level of remorse and his take-away from the experience than any punishment I could dispense. That’s not to say he wasn’t punished, because trust me, he was…but it is his experience that is the teaching tool, not the punishment. And he would have been denied this opportunity to learn had I made the choice for him.

Yeah, that’s all I have for this soapbox. I’ll try to go back to being shallow tomorrow.

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