How often do we find ourselves thinking, “What if I had…?” when something goes awry? How often do we say, “If only I could go back and change…” when the predicted outcome backfires? I am guilty of spending way too much time considering what might have happened had I made a different decision. The problem is, time moves forward, never backward (unfortunately!) so once the lesson is learned, dwelling on the past just takes up mental and emotional brain space…which I personally cannot afford!
My daughter is somewhat of a perfectionist. Yesterday she brought home a project for which she received a sub-par grade. I was pleasantly surprised that she was not overly upset about it when she explained that she’d received full credit for the actual research work, but only half-credit for her presentation since she’d forgotten many important points in her speech. Her solution? Next time, she would practice more. As a parent, I admit that I was a little disappointed in her grade. However, as her parent, I could not have been more proud. This is a child who might have cried and berated herself for failing. This is a child who might have let this grade darken her day. Instead, after ten long years of repeating myself (“We can’t change the past. Learn from it, but then make a plan for the future”), she did exactly what I would hope.
As parents, we cannot and will not always be there for our children. We hope that when they are older and independent, they will make wise choices. It feels exhilarating when your child demonstrates that 1) they have been listening to you and 2) they understand the power of your message. Don’t get me wrong, this is one small victory in my life as a mom…but one by one, they do add up!