I’ve written before about regrets, most recently in my September 6th post, Do I Really Need to Say it Again?
I tend to approach the issue from the assertion that I refused to dwell on regrets because the past is what made me who I am and brought me to where I am today. To regret those things would be to regret my life and myself, to some degree.
But there is another dimension to the concept of regrets in how we use them to improve the future of mankind, which is surely part of “Humanifest Destiny”. We do this by trying to keep our kids – or others’ kids – from repeating our mistakes in the interest of securing for themselves a better future; because you can’t trivialize the future with the threat of regret the way you can the present and past with its admission. So rather than appearing hypocritical I would rebrand “regrets” as “life experience better off avoided”. After all, we have all seen an episode of some television show in which the parents are made to look like hypocrites after forbidding or punishing something that they in fact did themselves as kids – drinking, partying, drugs, sex, church, what have you – it makes an excellent TV trope because a) there is an opportunity for comedy wherever you can turn the tables, and b) people can get some idea of how to deal with this issue.
How do you tell your children not to repeat your mistakes without looking like a hypocrite? Man, that’s a good question, and I can’t wait to figure it out. Maybe it will sound something like, “been there, done that, bad idea.”
Either way I can’t say today what the subject matter will be with any certainty, because you can’t just give your kid a list of regrets as though they’re a computer to be programed; you’ll make them neurotic doing that. You have to spoonfeed it as the situation demands and hope that common sense will take care of the rest, at least for the time being.
What do you think? Have you dealt with this conundrum before? How did it play out for you, and did you or would you handle it differently the next time it happened?
This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt.
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