The hardest thing

One of the hardest lessons I have ever learned (and am still learning) is that it is impossible to make everything right…to “fix” things…for the ones you love.

When you first hold your child or grandchild, you have all kinds of hopes and dreams. You want life to go smoothly for them…you want them to be the best they can be. You want their dreams to come true.

But life doesn’t always work that way.

If we could make decisions for them, we think that life would be so much better. From our life experience, we could help them avoid the challenges and mistakes that we might have made.

Yet if life went that way, they would be our “puppets.” That’s not what we want.

Our children and grandchildren have the rights to make their own decisions and choices…even when we disagree…even when we can see further down the road and know that those decisions will have negative impacts on their lives.

Our pillows can be soaked with tears. Our stomachs can clench every time we see their phone numbers come up on our phones–as we wonder what problem we’re going to hear about now. We sometimes wonder if our prayers for them are going anywhere.

There are sometimes things we could do to “fix” their lives in response to their poor choices…and yet, that doesn’t allow them to help them grow up and take responsibility for themselves and their own lives. Being an enabler–while it may be what we would love to do–only creates more problems for them. At some point they have to understand–maybe the hard way–that decisions have consequences.

Sometimes that may mean that they may hate us for a while.

It’s hard…yet if we–and they–can survive those difficult years, our loved ones can become who and what we want for them.

But…it’s the hardest lesson for all of us to learn…and (unfortunately) it’s an ongoing lesson.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
― Anne Frank

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