Most of us emerge on this earth confused, cold, soaking wet and screaming. Some of us will depart in a similar fashion.
I don’t believe in fate, or destiny, or a predestined path…
We may all start out with innocence in our hearts and a twinkle in our eye but life has this funny little way of just kicking the shit out of us, even as kids.
We’re given things in life, and told to treasure those gifts we receive; only to have someone else come along and tell us that we have to share or we’re bad people.
We’re messy kids. Our surroundings almost guarantee that.
Parents will always do what they personally think is right, which many of us believe screwed us up at a very early age; or, so we think.
Because screw the instruction manuals. They’re all wrong.
Share your toys, don’t touch that, don’t put that in your mouth, don’t talk that way, take a bath – clean your room, go to school, get good grades, be nice to everybody.
They’re simple concepts, but because we have them reinforced as children, once we get older, the instinct is to rebel.
We forget to share.
We put our hands on people or things we shouldn’t.
We eat and drink like fools.
We say things we shouldn’t.
We quit caring about our appearance.
We don’t give a damn, we just want out of confined rooms with those horrible, educational adults.
We want to hate and judge everyone.
We’re messy teens. We flounder around in bodies we don’t understand, and no one will explain.
People expect more of us while less people are remembering to be kind.
We have so much data and information shoved into our brains by this age that we just want to switch off the light sometimes.
For some, we accomplish that, and then forget where the switch is.
We start dating and life suddenly becomes a popularity contest. A contest we didn’t want to enter to begin with and one that most of us will lose.
My own sons are now 22, 21, 17 and 8..
I’ve asked the older boys the toughest question I’ve ever asked:
“How did I fail you, as a parent?”
“You didn’t, Mom. You did the best you could.”
I raised my boys to be open minded but to stand firm on their moral convictions. I’ve let them win just to show them what it looks like to lose gracefully. I’ve beaten them at their own game just to make sure the lesson was learned. I’ve allowed them to get dirty. I’ve allowed them to stay out after dark. They’ve slept in tents in the yard or in a sleeping bag under the stars. I’ve allowed them to rescue stray animals. I’ve encouraged them to volunteer to help others even if it the timing was inconvenient for me. I’ve allowed them to make mistakes and I’ve let them suffer the consequences of those mistakes.
With all of this, has come LIFE lessons:
Compassion for self and others;
How to choose their battles;
How to stand up for what they believe is right;
How to admit when they are wrong;
How NOT to hurt people;
What the difference is between being cordial and being respectful and knowing WHY there is a difference.
I wanted them to learn how to make themselves happy so that even when they were alone, they still have something but also to understand that there is nothing wrong with being sad and sometimes feeling lonely, or anxious.
Most of all, I wanted to teach them that life WAS messy.
BUT when you’re willing to clean up your own mess you leave a much nicer, happier place for the person behind you.
Sometimes you have to destroy things in order for the beauty of life to shine through.
The thing you most need to destroy are your own fears and doubts.