We have all experienced failure at some point. This can mean a personal failure, relational failure, work failure, or an academic failure; the list goes on. I can only speak for myself, but some failures have worse residual effects than others. The type of failure that I beat myself up for the most would be failing as a parent. Even if you are not a parent, what I want to say may help you in other areas of your life.
As a parent, you want your child to succeed. We have all heard this before. It’s really true. If you are indeed an active and loving parent, you want your child to do well in life and do things better than you ever did. It’s not really living through them, but it’s more like knowing the mistakes you’ve made and the outcomes that it created and not wanting someone you love to experience the pain and disappointment that you know follows.
Today was one of my most heart-wrenching moments and I’ll tell you why. You may judge me if you want, but this is 100 percent TRUTH.
This week has been…..hectic…. not in a busy type of way, but that’s the best way to describe the events of our days. When I say “our”, I am most likely referring to my son, David, and myself. So, we have soccer practice on Mondays and Wednesdays. The past few practices he has not put in all of his effort. David has been walking during practice and worse, he walked throughout most of his game on Saturday. Trying to figure out what was wrong, we purchased new cleats, made him run extra with me in the evenings, and talk about what was going on. Literally, it boils down to the fact that he’s being lazy.
“It’s too hard.”
What. Too hard? Ok, this is when my motivation kicks in to push him through.
“Life will be hard. You can’t give up. You have to keep going and get through because if not, someone else will.”
He’s 7 and it’s soccer. (In my defense, it’s not just elementary soccer, it’s actually competitive and coached by paid and well trained professionals). But! It’s still an endeavor that he has taken on.
Next, he has been talking WAY too much at school. I’m pretty sure the only time he isn’t talking is during the pledge and during prayer time. (He goes to a Christian Academy so this is a normal part of the students’ day). I have taken away everything that is considered leisure to him. No video games (which was already minimized, not sure how we even started on all that), extra homework, no electronics, etc. Basically, everything short of taking everything out of his room.
Ok. Now you know I’m a Nazi parent. Yep. Well, here’s what’s next.
I have kept my cool throughout this week, lecturing on the value of hard work and behavior but still encouraging and been civil, ha!
THEN…… the straw on the camel’s back!!!!
HE LEFT HIS LUNCH AT HOME!!!! What a crime!!!! This is like the worst thing that can happen in the morning on the way to school. Yeah… it’s not that big of a deal, but when everything else has been going on, it is. At least, I made it to be.
We were almost to school when I realized that he did not bring his lunch. Ever so nonchalantly he just says, “I don’t know” when I asked him where his lunch was. I don’t know?
I don’t know.
Ok, so now he doesn’t understand that it’s a huge deal, what I’m now going to have to do after I drpp him off, on top of everything else, and just be ok with it? Yes, this sounds like I’m overreacting. It’s the principal of the matter, right? It’s the fact that I need to get my point across because this is what this whole week has been about. He’s been lazy, hasn’t tried, doesn’t seem to care about any of his mistakes, and hasn’t been doing “what he’s supposed to be doing”.
Guess what. I am overreacting. Yes, he’s been lazy, but haven’t we all had those moments? Haven’t we all just checked out once in a while? And who said that there is a certain way to do things?
I’m going to keep it real. I yelled at him, told him that he was lazy (worst part) and I told him that he disappointed me (that may have hurt him more than it did me). I said the same things over and over again because I had said them in a calm way earlier that week, throughout that week, and at different moments along this journey of parenting. The worst part is that I knew I needed to just be quiet. I said my peace. He knew what I wanted from him and what I expected. He always does, it’s a choice he has to make.
As he left, on a bad note, to walk into school, I just wanted to cry. I wanted to stop sooner and just tell him to try harder and to encourage him and to love him, but I did not.
As this post is getting way too long and if you’ve stuck it out this far, just know that if you feel like you’ve failed, there is always time to get back up and try again. Explain to your child (or friend, parent, boss, co-worker, whoever!) that you messed up and that you should have handled things differently, that you shouldn’t have put he/she down just to make a point.
Lead by example. Be who you want your children to be or who you want others to be like.
I am going to take his lunch to school (after I told him that he will have to eat whatever they have in the cafeteria and if he didn’t like it…. oh well!!! Grrrr… Mean mom.) and I’m going to love him and hug him and explain to him that I still expect hard work and to correct what’s wrong, but that I would like him to forgive me for how I handled the situation. I handled it like I have always told him that he shouldn’t; bratty, whiney, with anger, and words that weren’t so uplifting.
In my next post, I wrote a letter to David and I hope that this helps someone as well. It made me feel better.