Being in between the ages of parenthood and youth, I am at a stage in life where I can understand why some parents autocratically steer the lives of their children away from possible mistakes (your daughter’s rockstar boyfriend, passion for arts, the wrong group of friends, travel, etc), and why their children need to commit those mistakes more than ever in life.
I’ve made mistakes, I still do. And though they are painful and sometimes leave a mark, when I made them, I know it must hurt more for my parents who watched me make it. Knowing it would lead to it, and never stopped talking me out of it. But my will was so strong, I was completely disobedient and so I learned.
And with all my mistakes and all the lessons I’ve learned in life, I want to share a list of why, in retrospect, those mistakes were essential in my life.
1. They are still reversible. Although there are some mistakes that will leave a mark, while you’re young, you still have the time to come back and reverse any situation and take the opportunity to learn from it.
2. If you’re fortunate, you may still ask support from your parents to get you back up. I’m not just talking about financial support, sometimes, it boils down to just having someone believe in your new path to recovery. You’d be surprised just how much it means to have someone trust your road to reformation, when everyone else automatically disassociates with you.
3. I’ve equally lost and won in life, be it in sports, love, education,work, etc. In winning, I basked in the light that comes from glory, celebrated, became proud, and sometimes feared to lose, but in losing, I’ve been humbled, trained and worked harder, challenged, focused and became determined. I’m not saying winning makes you soft, but losing definitely makes you hard.
4. You may suffer, but much like your calloused palms from toil, those scars will make you harder.
5. Confidence does not only come from success, it can also come from being able to find yourself when you feel so lost.
So parents, do not rob your children of inevitable mistakes they will have, and crucial lessons they will learn. Parenting is not about restricting your children’s experiences, it is about guiding them through the lessons that they will need to know in order to survive. Letting them get burned when they get too close with fire will make them understand that it hurts and that why you were right all along. Nothing teaches a child to swim faster than throwing them in the pool under your supervision, you could only hope that their mistakes are committed while you’re still around to guide them. Besides, if experience and lessons can be taught verbally, then there is no doubt we would all have been perfect human beings by now from the collective experiences of thousands of years of human existence.
To your children, merely staying alive is not living. Do not be afraid to commit mistakes, make decisions, venture in your interests, have fun, follow your dreams! You might get hurt, suffer at times, but always come back stronger and wiser. Listen to your parents, they only want the best for you. Understand their fears and worries but do not let it stop you, instead, let them guide you. They are correct most of the time, they’ve been through what you’re going through as much as you don’t want to believe it.