September 7, 2013 by Dragonfly Diva
In a recent post on scribblechic, where the author writes about how they parent their children and how they’ve learned after the fact that their reactions, what they model for their children, is not always what they value or believe in. It’s not that they deviate from those values and beliefs willingly and knowingly, it’s that they turn around, either in the midst of parenting, or at a later point and realize “whoa, that’s not where I intended to go!”
This happens within all relationships, not just parenting, as the author notes. When we find ourselves apologizing to our spouse, parent, friend, co-worker, etc. its most likely possible that we’ve taken a sharp left in the road, or an unexpected right turn and wound up at a dead-end that smacked us in the face as a warning that we’ve made a mistake. That our path was not leading to a good place, a place we cherish and want to share with others.
And that is where the learning is…in the lows. When we find ourselves realizing that we’ve messed up. I know, at least for myself, that I wish I could learn BEFORE I hit that dead-end in the road, when I’m standing at that fork in the path ahead, and sometimes that’s possible. But often it is later, while engaged in the after-mistake analysis that the true learning moment happens. That is where I find the take-away. It is where I see that sudden turn, where the choice was made, where I can seek to do things differently in the future.
And as parents that is one of the most important skills we can share with our children. It is o.k. to make mistakes, as long as we use them as opportunities to learn. That even as we parent we are not perfect, that we will hit lows and that it is normal, but that if we seek to uncover the why in those lows, the reason behind the wrong turn and work to do it differently in the future, it is a learning moment. And when we share that wrong turn, why it was wrong and what should have been the path forward, our children learn two things. That part of living is learning, and making mistakes is a part of that life. No one is perfect, including parents.
A recent morning in our house was a perfect example. I’m the only early riser that greets the day quickly and head-on with a positive outlook. Well, I’ll qualify that with a “most of the time.” Lets face it we all have bad mornings on occasion, but I digress. My husband and son, well, they don’t pop out of bed when the alarm goes off (for more on how that works out for my son, see a previous post). That morning, my husband was off to the local Labor Day parade, and he asked my son to go with him. That meant rising and shining at daybreak. The slow to get out of bed teen found himself in rapidly slipping out of Dad’s good graces when his feet failed to hit the floor as expected. After some verbal tussling, they both swerved onto side streets that lead to dead-ends and a brewing fight.
But after some uncovering of the why – they both are NOT morning people – they agreed to move past the moment and come back to it when they were both better able to talk through their frustrations and perspectives. Sure, my son could have mouthed off and gotten himself into bigger trouble, and/or my husband could have forced compliance through anger, but where would that have gotten them? By admitting they were both wrong and moving past the moment, they acknowledged it for what it was, a low point in life, and used it as a learning opportunity in their relationship.
Do you have an example of a low point as a parent, in your marriage, in a friendship, that surfaced some learning and allowed you to approach future situations from a new perspective? Please share!