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Thomas Maples

You cannot teach a child to take care of himself unless you will let him try to take care of himself. He will make mistakes; and out of these mistakes will come his wisdom

Henry Ward Beecher

Far too often, I see parents assume responsibilities for their children. That’s our job, right? Our mission: shelter those we love most from making the same mistakes we have made during our childhood! This is the natural order of things: Right?

But what if it is not? What can it do to our children to assume their responsibilities? How does it affect their learning curve, let alone their future? What effects will it have on their overall psychological growth, let alone the growth we assume as parents by learning to let our children go. How can we truly let go, so that they can move on and claim their rightful place in the night time sky as their own shining star?

As parents, it is most difficult to let our children dabble in the same waters we had as children. We all make mistakes, and it is normal to want to shelter your children from the same mistakes you have made to save them the heartache and grief you may have felt after making such mistakes. However, as a parent, it is imperative to understand that you can not shelter your children from mistakes, even one’s you may have made during your childhood. You can only guide them, and hopefully they will listen: but ultimately it is your job to help pick them up when the undertake the learning process making mistakes initiates.

The very nature of childhood is one of learning, and learning does not occur in a vacuum of perfect circumstances. True lessons are not graded as they are in school life. Life lessons are either pass or fail; however, the lesson lies not within the act of passing or failing. In fact, within this circumstance, there is no failing. Instead, true lessons are learned in direct proportion to the work undertaken to face one’s failures, sift through the burnt ashes of poor past choices, find the glowing ambers within, and chart a course towards newer and greater heights. From this learning curve, we identify and implement new choices that differ from the ones that led to initial failures. We learn, and if we learn, there is no failure present. For the only failure in life from this perspective is a lesson not learned, and this lesson occurs only within the context the greater social value of hard work.

Your child’s wisdom arises from mistakes made. Your personal growth as a parent will also occur in direct correlation to your capacity to let your children go, so that they can have the opportunity to create in the shared system of your family values. This was the path you assumed as you moved towards adult life, and undertook the arduous journey towards the wisdom of Self Realization. It is the same path they must traverse to find their adult sense of Self. Carpe Diem!

Dr. Tom

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