Embracing My Failures For My Children
“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up, we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”
― Madeleine L’Engle
My Parents Are Superheroes!
The current generation of parents is mostly from the generation that worshipped their own parents as infallible. As kids, we believed that our parents had the solutions to all our problems; they were superheroes in their workplaces, could do no wrong, and emerged the victor in every battle they faced in life.
These myths led us to put our families on a pedestal and burden ourselves to fulfill the heavy expectations of family and society. Any slight deviation from the expected path was deemed a failure.
Would it have been easier for many if they had known that those they looked upon as role models had often faltered themselves? That their parents were losing more battles than they won? That the path taken by every individual is usually paved with hard, rocky, and slippery stones?
How To Share Your Failings With Your Child?
Being vulnerable takes a lot of courage. A parent who is angry, frustrated, tired, or disappointed with his/ her own self cannot expect to model self-love to their child. To be able to share our emotions, weaknesses, and failures (in an age-appropriate manner) with our kids, we must first work on ourselves to ensure that we are secure with our own selves.
We put in a lot of effort to be involved in our children’s lives. It is not enough to ask them just what was taught that day in school. “Did you do your homework? Are your exams dates announced?” Please go a step further. Share your day with them. “I missed my deadline and got reprimanded for it today. I didn’t feel too good getting scolded, you know. So, I am going to pay more attention to my deadlines henceforth. But my bestie and I went out for a coffee during lunch, and I felt much better later.”
Showing Them, We Are Human
When we humanize ourselves, life becomes a lot easier. We accept each day as it comes-with its failures and successes. We can try to improve each day. And, we are more pleasant to be around because we haven’t burdened ourselves with the expectations of others. And more importantly, we have modeled these behaviors for our kids who keenly watch us and learn. Over time, expressing their emotions and sharing their dreams and fears with us becomes an easy everyday act. They learn not to worry about being judged or disappointing their parents as we have built an environment at home to bring up empathetic young ones. And the world will be a better place for it.
Accepting That Our Children Will Fall
We like variety in our foods. Our children do not like the exact same dishes that we like. To find out what we look good in, we trial numerous clothes before selecting one. Then, how can we expect them to walk on a path that we layout for them, at times we want them to and within the lines we have drawn for them? Exploring the various avenues available to us is an opportunity they must not lose. Never hold your kids back from trying to figure out what they want by exploring.
We often find that we are so critical of our kids due to the boundaries that we have set for ourselves. They will fall more times than we can bear, so we must stay on the sidelines offering help only when asked and needed. “My child loves the camera, wants to become a photographer; what kind of a financially unstable profession is that?” And then we swoop in to save our child from an unconventional choice not because it was wrong for him/her, but because we cannot understand it.
Let your son learn Bharatanatyam- it may be his outlet of expression, let your daughter play football-it may come naturally to her, let your ‘100 in math’ kid become a doctor- if that’s where their passion lies. Take pride in their effort because it will motivate them to try harder. Be there when they fall, and let them be there when you fall. Let them know failures do not define you, and they will not define them either. Let them know their mistakes are a part of the growing-up process. Mistakes or failures will not be dangled above their heads. We should not taunt them on their bad days. They will not be ammunition to be used by siblings for blackmail. Moreover, they are merely those rough, rocky, slippery stones. If they slipped or fell, they would now know how to be careful the next time.
The Win – Be True To Yourself And Your Child
Rome was not built in a day. The gleaming, proud parents of Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Lydian Nadhaswaram, or Advait Kolarkar were not successful overnight either. Enabling kids to reach the best of their potential, make wise choices, be secure and confident stems from having a safe and loving environment at home. They say charity begins at home. I say everything begins at home. Parents are a kid’s first teacher and friend. A child projects onto every relationship whatever he/ she has imbibed at home. How they treat the house help, the type of friends they choose, how they tackle problems, respond to public humiliation, whether they let success go to their heads- all of this has its roots at home.
And who thought a simple thing such as opening up our true selves to our children- flaws and all would yield so many results. So go ahead, be your real selves with your kids. Don’t fear showing them that you are not a good singer, that you need a good cry, that you need them to hug you because you had a rough day, that you fought with your friend or that you can’t make their favorite meal that their friend’s mom is awesome at! Kids shower love in abundance anyways.
“Happy Unlearning To Become A Better Parent”