Lessons. We all learn them. From the time we are born we are learning. Some lessons are small and some are life changing. I have found in my life that the most painful and difficult lessons are the ones that are most profoundly life changing. They change me in ways I had never dreamed of. These lessons started when I was young and continue to this very day.
Lessons, if we don’t learn from them, sometimes we get lost and don’t know which way to turn. Most of the time, we can’t see the value of a lesson when we are in the middle of it. It is only when there is some distance between the lesson and us, can we understand it.
I have had many lessons in my life, but two lessons eclipse all the others. For those of you who follow my blog, you most likely know what they are. – the loss of my husband, and my daughter being diagnosed with Autism. The first taught me in a very up close and personal way, that life is short and with all that we have in life, it’s the people that count, not things. The latter taught me real compassion and patience. Of course, I thought I already knew these things, but I did not.
As parents we know that lessons are painful and we want to protect our children from the pain and discomfort of learning them. We think it is our job. When, in fact, just the opposite may be true.
My daughter is Autistic; the only way she learns is the hard way, when the consequences are concrete. So I must sit back and watch knowing that I could protect her, but also knowing that she must learn by experiencing. The more I try to assist her, the longer, if ever, till the lesson is learned (I am talking about lessons that are not life threatening). She is 17 now and I still have trouble doing this. Protecting and nurturing it’s in our DNA as parents.
I read once that we learn more from failing than we ever do from success. I have for the most part allowed my children to fail. I wanted them to learn about failure when they still lived with me, so I could comfort and explain what might not be clear. Because I knew that out in the real world failure is inevitable. I think some parents protect their child so much that the child is taken by surprise when failure happens, not knowing how to deal with it. How we deal with failure says a lot about us.
I’m not the parent who did their project for school. I gave them the tools and guidance they asked for but I never did the work. The project was all theirs.
I know that to some this sounds harsh, but it worked for me. When it came time to leave the nest my kids were ready.
Lessons, we don’t like them but they shape us into the people we are. I would not be the person I am today if not for them. I’m not saying I like them, in fact I hate them but they are a part of me like my brown hair. Lessons can make us take a path we never dreamed of.
Douglas Adam said it well “ I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I have ended up where I needed to be.” Yes indeed, I am where I need to be.