Family Failures

Last month we spent a lot of time talking about family because it was our theme. It’s an important and challenging theme for our lives, one that many of us struggle with throughout our lives, whether we’re close literally or physically or not. They’ve seen us on our best and worst days, and always bring up these really fantastic memories. Today I wanted to bring up a painful topic: failure and what happens when your kid isn’t all you expected them to be.

It’s not easy as a parent to see them sick or see them fail, so our job is to do the best we can to help them be strong enough to survive when we can’t be with them. We need to teach them manners, what qualifies as good food, how to react to celebrities, how to survive in a professional environment, what it means to be street savvy, how to read people, a love for learning and an overall passion and respect for life.

When they fail, and yes they will fail at some time in some way, you will yell at them and get frustrated. It’s OK, it’s necessary and they expect it, so just get it out of the way. But then move on to helping them heal and make better choices the next time. Don’t keep berating them or guilting them for failing you or making you look bad. While that may have been their intention, that’s not what you should focus on. Instead focus on them and helping them do and be better.

Finally, make it OK to celebrate when they do better the next time. I’m not just talking about physical/tangible rewards, but praise and words that let them feel your pride in who they are becoming. I don’t believe there is any value in bringing up the bad unless they aren’t doing a better job or becoming a better person. Moving forward will make them better people, and you too.

“…not everything has to turn out exactly the way you planned in order for you to call it a success.” Neale Donald Walsch


The Choice of Hurt

On Monday I shared a little about whether or not we’re letting our fears get the best of us and our relationships and our success.  I want to continue that discussion today, but take it in a bit of a different direction.  We’ve all been hurt by our partners before, they’ve said something or done something or forgot something and it really got to us.  Maybe because it seemed like the thousandth time they did or forgot, and no amount of reminding seems to do any good.  Dealing with hurt is a natural part of our lives since we’re not perfect, but on the other side of things, we’re not always able to be the absolutely amazing person we know we are capable of being either.

So once we’ve been hurt we’ve got a couple choices: one to hold onto the hurt and let it ruin our lives, two to share the hurt with the person that hurt us to clear the air, or three to just let it go and love them anyway.  None of these are an “all the time” solution, they’re situational and depend on the person or people involved as well as what happened.  However, I don’t recommend the first choice as a real solution to any of your problems because it will only cause more pain and suffering rather than help anyone.

The thing I always come back to when deciding how to handle a situation is a question: can I still love this person if they never are able to resolve this particular issue?  For example, if my partner never remembers my birthday can I love them anyway?  Or if my partner never remembers that I have a standing appointment every Thursday can I love them anyway?  Or if my partner always leaves the seat up can I love them anyway?  Or if my partner doesn’t like my favorite TV show can I love them anyway?  In my mind the answer to all of these questions is a definite yes.

It’s when we get to harder questions about money, our physical relationship or kids that the answers aren’t so straightforward.  I believe that the harder questions should have the ability to make or break our relationships: no one should be in an abusive relationship or one in which the partners are so far apart in goals and desires.  So when it comes to the smaller things I tend to air on the side of love and forgiveness.

Each day we have to make the choice to stay with that person and keep sharing our lives with them.  What should be a rewarding, and occasionally challenging, relationship is often much more stressful than it should be because we’re not able make a choice one way or the other.  What choice are you making in your relationship?