There are very few guarantees in life but, as parents, one thing that we can probably guarantee is that our children will do something incredibly unwise at some stage in their lives. We may be shocked at what they do and we may have a tendency to say “my child would never do that!” As parents, I don’t think we can ever make this claim.
During my career I’ve heard this phrase expressed by numerous parents who have been dismayed to learn that their child isn’t perfect. The fact is that none of us are perfect – we will make mistakes. We sometimes do things and make decisions that those closest to us would not expect.
Making mistakes is a really important part of the learning process and often our most meaningful lessons occur when we have made our biggest mistakes.
Children and adolescents have to be able to make mistakes, to make poor decisions and choices and to do what we might not expect. As parents, we need to try to accept the mistakes our children make, not make excuses for them, and then help them learn from their mistakes.
We also have to accept that our children’s friends and peers will also make mistakes (sometimes impacting our own children) and we should try to avoid passing judgement of the child and their family.
When our own children or their friends make mistakes, as parents it is also important that we practice and demonstrate forgiveness. While this is not always easy to do, especially when our emotions are involved, our children learn their responses and reactions to situations from our reactions. We are the most important role models in our children’s lives.
If we want our children to be forgiving, then they must learn from us.
This article from the Sydney Morning Herald is an excellent reminder of the power and importance of forgiveness, irrespective of what our children or those around them do.
Mark Hemphill | Head of School