Now that my children have grown and have lives quite independent of getting permission from “Mommie”, I’ve pondered what, now, do I share with my children about my own life? Which mistakes, poor judgments, selfish decisions, and failures shall I share with them? As I’ve grown up, I must honor them by recognizing that they, too, have grown up. . . in so many ways.
It’s understandable, and probably wise, to withhold some things from our children, when they’re small, immature, not yet capable of grasping abstractions. But as my children have grown up, I’ve become more bold and honest in sharing with my children my mistakes, poor judgments, selfish decisions and failures that I have made in my life~~those difficult things that have taught me the biggest lessons about life. Because I owe that to them. I owe that honesty to them, if only to let them know that we’re all human, we all learn by making mistakes, and not only is that okay, it’s expected (at least by anyone whose opinion matters.)
But the bigger reason for sharing more of my learning experiences with my children, is that it’s selfish~~ beyond selfish~~not to do so. Because our role as teacher never ends as a parent. Even when it hurts, and risks dispelling that silly, mythical idea our children once held in their minds that their parents are perfect ~~ horrors! ☺ They already know we’re not perfect! Do we really think we’re successfully fooling them? But it’s selfish to withhold our learning processes, no matter how embarrassing, because to withhold is to set them up to have to make the same mistakes. And if we love them, more than we love our egos, we will do whatever we can to help them navigate this confusing time on earth. To share with them what, in our lives, has helped us build our character.
It’s our responsibility to share the lessons we’ve learned with our children, because no matter how old we get and they get, we are responsible to be their teachers. They might not listen, now, but at some point, when they need it most, some of those words we’ve shared with them may just spring to the surface of their brains, saving them some pain and hardship, helping them get through a difficult time, or making a difficult decision
If we can do that, we’ve succeeded in one of the most important aspects of our job description as “Parent”. And it’s one of the greatest gifts of all that we can give our children.
©Janet Mitchell, November 2011