This is part of a continual series called, "Things I hope my kids learn." I currently have 150 different things written down that I hope they write. You can find the whole series of posts here.
#31. Whenever Possible Do Good.
So often little opportunities are missed. I was thinking today about the fact that sometimes life gets really complicated, really fast.
No matter how hard we try, it can get complicated. One thing that I hope my children learn and apply is to do good.
This can be something simple.
Sometimes, it will be complex. In fact, sometimes the good they see that needs to be done, they may not be able to do but I hope and pray that they will not allow those things to keep them from doing the things that they can do.
Whenever possible, do good. I hope that this won't need much explanation for my children.
I consistently run into people who dislike their life
Usually with a passion.
And yet, they make zero changes.
They do the same things over and over again.
As if their life is written out for them and no matter what they attempt, they are stuck living a life they hate.
This is patently false.
We, you and I can always change our life. The problem is that change is often hard
Change is often very painful. Even desired change.
Most people resist that pain choosing rather to wallow in the pain that they are familiar with over the potential pain that they do not know. This resistance to pain of any kind becomes muscle memory and it simply becomes easier to avoid it.
But this resistance to pain comes at a new price. The person becomes stuck in their life that they hate. But stuck is the wrong word because it implies some sort of outside force keeping them from achieving their desired outcome. Most of the time, the outside force is us.
There are three simple questions everyone must ask of themselves if they want to experience change.
What do I want? This is the most basic question. What do I really want? Often we want competing things. That is to say, we often want things that cancel each other out. We want to be heroic but face zero danger. We want to spend money indiscriminately and grow our savings account. This is why we need to make priorities.
What am I willing to pay? We often want things without having to pay for them. We want to own a successful business without putting in the hours required to be successful. We want to lose weight without sacrificing foods that we like but that are bad for us. We want to get better sleep but don't want to pay the cost of going to bed earlier. So often, people get stuck because they decide the price of change is too steep without adequately measuring the cost of staying the same.
What am I willing to risk? So often people want to achieve something without risk. This is impossible. The person who wants to expand her circle of friends will have to risk rejection. The man who wants to experience true love will be forced the risk the loss of that love. The person who wants to experience change, will have to risk the possibility of set backs and failures.
And so I say to my children, and you...indeed to myself, if we don't like the situation we are currently in, we are free to change it. Always.
This is the first in an ongoing series entitled, Things I hope my kids learn. This is number 66. The numbers have little significance but they do provide me a decent way to track each one.
One of the most common things I see in life is people enslaved by their mistakes.
The young father with a criminal record, fears to ever take a chance because of a mistake when he was 18. The young mother who fears loving again because he baby daddy left her.
The middle aged person who over reached and now lives in fear of trying again.
The stories go on, wandering a long and meandering path.
Too often I see people who simply can't past their own mistakes. There's a guy at the gym where I work out who told me that he has been in a violent and bad relationship for 25 years because he cheated on his wife with the woman he was in relationship with now.
That's the definition of being enslaved.
I pray my children learn that their mistakes do not have to define them.
But what about you? What can you and I (and for that matter our children) do with the mistakes that have happened?
Admit and own the mistake. One of the biggest things that I see people do that actually gets them trapped is that they refuse to admit that they made a mistake. Worse, they often try to deflect ownership for their mistake to someone else.
Evaluate for what you can do differently. Simply because you made a mistake, that doesn't mean you have to repeat it.
Gather resources. Sometimes this will require you to look for others to help. Sometimes, you'll need to wait and be patient while you gather your resources or the next semester or job opening comes along. People are often tempted to skimp on this step. Don't be one of them.
Try again. I'm not sure step 4 needs explained.
Repeat. Often, overcoming mistakes needs multiple attempts. You have to be willing to go back into the fray. Go back again and again.
Mistakes can rob us of hope. Instead of looking at them as something bad, I'd love for my kids to come to the place where they celebrate failure as a means to gain knowledge and wisdom. Of course, that means that I too would have to come to a place used to failure and mistakes.