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The Eclectic Pen - Hypothetical question of the day..

By: Mary W. (maejae)  
Date Submitted: 6/24/2007
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » Memoirs
Words: 504

  I have often said we learn from the youth if we allow it but do I live it? Do I let my children see the side of me that can learn from them? Do I think it will diminish my authority as a parent? Do I care? The answer is yes to all of the above. I do care, yes it does diminish my authority to some small degree and yes, I still make the choice to let them see me make mistakes. I think it will make the better adults in the long run. I'll let you know in about 10 years.

...but I digress. I read a post another member made about not wishing to change the past and it brought to mind a game my daughter and I play... we ask hypothetical questions of each other. One night I asked her what one thing she would change from her past and to my surprise, she said nothing. She said her mistakes, her failures, her hard-times as well as good times and successes have made her who she is today. She went on to tell me she likes who she is today and wouldn't change a thing. I couldn't have been more proud nor more stunned. At the age of 16 to have such insight and security, even if it's fleeting as teenage moods often do.

And so, I thought back to my own heartaches, for who if given the chance would change the good times? No, I thought about my childhood being rougher than most, about my distant mother, about falling into the wrong crowd and doing drugs, about mis-managing my money and ending up in bankruptcy. Would I change those things if I could? What about the good that came from each and every one of those events in my life? The strength of character I gained from a crappy childhood; my mother and her love of books, her intelligence and her knowledge of other cultures and languages which I inherited; the diversity in people which I came to appreciate and allows me to be one of the least judgmental people I know; the drugs and the experiences - the ability to know what to look for in my own children and to tell them which drugs are in fact truly dangerous and why; and the lesson... yes, the lesson learned from mismanaging my money which allows me to help others. No, I don't suppose I would change the horrible things which happened in my past. The trade off is too great. I would however change one thing... I would learn to be kind earlier in life because as one singer today said "In the end, only kindness matters." Too true.

Thank you to my daughter for this lesson learned, the singer Jewel for the cool song "Hands" and to the other member here who inspired me to write this.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Mary W. (maejae)

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Comments 1 to 4 of 4
Amanda R. (amandaripsam) - 6/25/2007 5:19 AM ET
I wonder who the other member is I liked this very much your teenager thinks like I do and I am 24. tell her kudos for being so clever
Marta J. (booksnob) - 6/25/2007 8:55 AM ET
This is lovely, Mary. I, too, have a wonderful 16-year-old who has, I believe, benefitted from my large past (and continuing) mistakes. Thanks for so eloquently voicing exactly what I feel!
IONE L. (zaneygraylady) - 6/25/2007 4:00 PM ET
I really like this. Yes I would also be kinder if I went back.
Silvercat - - 6/26/2007 1:37 AM ET
This is beautifully written. Don't you think a lot of people you have met along the way would be surprised if they realized the unique experiences you have had are the reason for your being able to come up with very valuable counsel? It looks like your lucky daughter is gaining unusually rare insight from you!
Comments 1 to 4 of 4