Friday, November 20, 2009

Sins of the children

*unedited and written from my gut... beware....*

I've noticed lately that a lot of my friends are getting married, settling down, and starting families.

This is great. Honestly, I am SO happy for my friends (maybe a little jealous?... Nah).

I was talking to a good friend of mine not to long ago about having kids. She said that she is worried. Why? Well, I guess they are expensive... Blah blah blah...

You know what worried her the most? She was afraid her kids would fail, make wrong choices, make mistakes, sin...

I starred at her blankly. Why would her children's mistakes be her problem?

"Because, the sins of the children are on the heads of their parents"

I think what she meant was: "If my children make bad choices its because I raised them poorly. They are making mistakes because I made mistakes when I was raising them. I will be held responsible for their mistakes. Its my fault if they don't turn out 'right'." [right is in quotes here cause its a relative word]

I hate this.

I hate the fact that parents beat themselves up because of things their children do. Especially ADULT children.

I was raised by amazing parents. They taught us to work hard, they taught us discipline, they had rules, they grounded us, they let us get away with a few things, we were taught to be open-minded, we were not shielded from the world, they taught us to see the good in people, they taught us the value of life, we were taught to love, to have tolerance, we were taught respect...

So what now?

My parents raised us well and to the best of their abilities. And I love them for this. So what if I (or my brothers) make a mistake? What if I mess up? Who's fault is it? Its mine.

Why should my parents (who raised me in an amazing way) be judged for things that I'VE done?

Parents should not beat themselves up for the way their children turned out ESPECIALLY if the parents raised their kids well. People make mistakes. You can't live your life beating yourself up for something your child does. Its not your fault.

The parent who abused their child should be blamed for that child being messed up. THAT is their fault! That parent made a mistake (abusing your kids is bad) and if the child is screwed up for it then the parent should blame themselves... they won't, of course. That's another issue.

I also understand that if I become a drug addict or a prostitute or something crazy like that (don't worry) that people will judge my parents. "Where did you go wrong with that one?" They may say. Yea, they may say that. But you didn't "go wrong with that one" (again, if you raised them to the best of your abilities). It was the kids choice to end up like that. Don't we have our own agency? Don't we have the right to choose?

So when does it end? Does it? Do parents ever stop blaming themselves for things their children do? Do my grandparents still blame themselves for mistakes my parents make? And do they blame themselves for mistakes their grandchildren make?

I'm not telling people not to care. You should care and love your children but not at the cost of destroying yourself over it. What does that do? Nothing. Your children gain nothing by you beating yourself up. They only thing it does is make the child push away from you. Why would I tell my parents about the mistakes I make if it is only going to hurt them? If I came to my parents and told them I had drug problem and all they did was cry and beat themselves up about it then how would that help me? It would make me feel bad because not only had I hurt myself but my parents too. What now? Run away? Stop talking to them? Cut them out of my life? What will that do? Protect them?

I want to be a parent someday. I want to get married and have a family. Will I worry about my children? Of course. But you have to let them go. Let your children go. They will make mistakes. They will learn and grow. Its all part of life. Should you shield them? Should your protect them from the evil that the world has to offer? No, you can only shelter them for so long.

So what now? I guess in the end I can say all I want about this subject... this is my blog... but what the hell do I know? I'm not a parent. This is just my opinion. I guess my friend needs to know that she shouldn't be worried. Being a parent is, I'm sure, an amazing thing and you shouldn't live your life worrying about it.

I know its hard. I beat myself up about stuff all the time... but what does that accomplish? Not much in my humble experience...

Life is life and we live it from day to day. We will worry because we care but we need to stop and realize something: is worrying and beating yourself up about something you can't change and have no control over really going to make anything better?


Lindsey said...

Honestly my feelings about this is that I don't want to see my children mess up ....not because I will feel like I raised them wrong, but because I will HATE to see them hurt. I know we learn from our mistakes and I get all that, but I know it will hurt me to see them hurt.

Cheryl said...

This results from misquoting and misreading the scripture in Doctrine in Covenants that talks about how we need to teach our children the gospel, and if we don't, then we will be accountable for it.
Basically, that's it.

I worry every freaking day how my children will turn out. BUT! I agree with you. As long as I do my job and teach them correct principles, then they will govern themselves. That's the whole point. To have children is to prepare them to make tough choices and be successful and move away. And for sure! Hopefully they will make correct ones. But if they don't? I'll still pray everyday that they will see the error of their ways. I will still love them with all of my heart. And I will probably feel some guilt --because that's what parenthood is: GUILT.

Without overcomplicating it, having children is to take a part of your soul and put it in front of a speeding train. That's what it feels like at times. So, guilt is always there. You always analyze decisions and wonder if you should/could/would do it differently. The ironic part is that it's not obsessive! It's just so interwoven into who I am that I can't help but think of my children's welfare every second of every day. I don't even realize I'm doing it.

Okay, I'm droning on and on...I guess my real point was to say that I understand why parents have guilt and try to do the best they can, but I really do agree with you about sins and mistakes: We do the best we can, but the kids will have to own their own mistakes ---IF IF IF! they've been taught right. That's the key. :)

Sorry for more droning...

P.S. I miss you!

Jessica Munk said...

I agree with you Court. I think doing your best as a parent is relative. As long as you are prayerful about it and constantly trying to do your best, like you said. Then all will be well :)