Watching Them Fall
Watching Them Fall
By Tony DeLorger © 2011
For all of our hopes that life be kind to those we love, we can have little affect on that course. Each one of us is individually responsible for our lives and the paths taken on this diverse and colourful journey we call life. As a parent, we guide and we hope instil realistic bounds and a sense of morality that will give our children a sound foundation for their own decisions. We can do no more than that. However we wish to intervene, cut corners or redirect our grown children, the ultimate result of their path is from their hands alone. Their mistakes are as much about their learning rather than our saving them from folly. What we forget is that mistakes are a fundamental tool of growth, the opportunity to learn and in future avoid the consequence of wrong decisions.
It’s hard to sit there as an adult and parent, watching our child deviate from a positive path. We in our experience may recognise this unlike our child, but this is not about us. Our needs often cloud our judgement in these types of situations, and all we do in our outbursts and truth telling is to alienate our kids. Their recognition of the truth may indeed come later, but our appeared interference does nothing but make them feel inadequate and us the controller. We need to expose our children to life, the same way we were. Our chance to inspire common sense and a balanced perspective has long passed and it is up to us to let them discover life and learn from their own disasters.
As parents we can give advice if asked, we can guide by example and sometimes make subtle suggestions, but beyond that it is our job to pick up the pieces when it all comes undone. Often this can be just as dramatic as it is for our kids, but this is our job after all. Because they grow up doesn’t make us any less a parent and that task is without end.
Life is about experience, learning and understanding. Mistakes are often something you can’t tell someone before the fact, no matter how intense and destructive the possible outcome. If it’s something one needs to learn, then no-ones words will be recognised or understood to avoid it. This is simply meant to be and we as parents can do nothing but remain supportive. The pain and anxiety experienced by the parents often exceeds that of the child, the one whose learning is at stake.
I am blessed with having few problems with my own children, but you hear stories of kids getting into drugs and crime and the like. The parents no doubt feel responsible, inadequate and ineffectual. But none of us can decide for anyone else. Responsibility is individual and as cold as it seems we as parents must accept that our children control their own lives.
In circumstances beyond our control we must have a clear perspective and abandon blame, rather, be a foundation of support and accept we all have faults. The consequences of those faults are our liability; learning them a path to a better more productive and positive life. Pain is but another lesson on this journey of life. We must accept it for us as well as for our kids, however difficult that may be.