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Thursday, February 4, 2010

If your not screwing up; your not doing much.

I cannot remember every detail of my childhood. I do not recall every lecture, or consequence, or conversation of my teenage years; but, I do remember one quote that my dad said to me once in my early teens that has truly resonated with me throughout the years. "If your not screwing up; Your not doing much"

Looking back on my younger years, I will admit I did not need to do "so much". I am not going to deny a little more discipline, structure, boundaries may have led me to be more successful, have more brain cells, be healthier, I may not have taken the harder road to where I am today had I "screwed up less". Having said that, I still as an adult raising my own children, truly appreciate the fact that my dad did not break my spirit in the name of being perfect, good, right, clean, well-behaved.

As I write these words, I am also trying to come to terms with my own ideas of child rearing. I want my children to be given the same freedom to fail. The same fearlessness in life that I believe I was given by my dads philosophy of making mistakes; however, I do not know if this is right. How do I limit the chaos that surrounds me, teach my children to respect their things, my things, themselves, and others without demanding them to? And how do I demand certain behavoirs without being forecful, fierce, stringint?

I have been told I am too easy on them. That when they write on walls and not paper I should reprimand more sternly than I do. I have been told they need to be spanked, by more than one person. I want my house to be cleaner, I want them to take better care of the gifts given to them. Overall, I would like a little less mess, but my younger children are just that young. In my eyes, the way I handle the mistakes they make today (writing on walls, yelling, being destructive,) is laying the foundation for how they will react to failures later in life. I do not want them to fear mistakes.

I as a grown adult am still making mistakes; errors that in my attempt to correct I am growing and becoming a better person. Maybe I am wrong; maybe I could have learned these same lessons without making the mistakes that lead to the teachings I am receiving.

Is failure essential to learning life lessons?

1 comment:

  1. if that photo is of one of your children i can tell you this: you are probably doing something right.

    before i was sent to prison, i was an art instructor for primarily children under five. everything about that picture is RIGHT.

    and yes, i truly believe that mistakes are our greatest learning experiences-- which is why having your first child be two children is such a bad idea.