A dad is someone who
wants to catch you before you fall
but instead picks you up,
brushes you off,
and lets you try again.
A dad is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way,
even though his heart breaks
in silence when you get hurt.
A dad is someone who
holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,
shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you even when you fail…
Sometimes it is so difficult to be the kind of parent in the selection shared above.
- To let them grow,
- To let them try,
- To let them fail,
- To let them develop their self confidence.
And do we allow our parents to have grown, tried, failed, develop self confidence? Or do we blame them for how we’ve turned out?
And what about the skills of letting ourselves grow, try, fail, develop self confidence?
A speaker once addressed a high school assembly on the subject “Be Good to Your Old Man!” The students were expecting some trite Sunday school moralizing. Instead the talk turned out to be something entirely different, an insight that made a lifelong impression on some of those youthful listeners.
The “old man” is the person who will evolve out of the person you now are. The child is the parent of the adult.
No matter what the past, we cannot change it. But we can take charge of our life today and control what all these things do to us in our present experience.
We need to forgive all those who we feel have hurt us, neglected us, or in any way frustrated our good. (including our parents!)
More, we must forgive ourselves, those little children who are the parents of who we have become today.
Forgive and let it go. We are the adults now.
We can open the way now for all things to work together for good, even if the “good” is the painful challenges that have forced us to grow. Growth is what life is about.
I’m reminded of the story of the two brothers with alcoholic parents. They were interviewed as adults and asked to what did they attribute their station in life.
The first man was an alcoholic, living on the streets who answered, “What do you expect, with parents like mine?”
The second was a successful businessman, active in his community, with a loving family. He answered, “What do you expect, with parents like mine?”
They had perceived their experiences differently, used them as an excuse or as a lesson and created their own lives as a result of that choice.
As Victor Frankl said so clearly in “Man’s Search for Meaning” after his experience in the concentration camps,
The two brothers made their choices and the consequences followed.
And if we understand that today we too are making choices that will determine who we become tomorrow (that we are now the “parent” of our future self) then we know we are not victims of our circumstances.