First, the confession: I am in the midst of a fertility battle. It’s been ongoing. It’s painful. I hope, I fall, I pray, I am sometimes angry. Above all, I am confident my life will unfold exactly as it should. I am not now a mother, but I would love to be.
I grew up with wonderful parents. I never worried about finances, food, shelter, education, etc.
My father was amazing: He was an inspiration of how working hard and sacrificing can create a better life for your family. How being passionate and having jobs you love will make you happy, make you successful, and will pay off in the long run. How we should never, ever, stop learning. And for goodness sake, if you like to write, write!
My mother was amazing: she was a stay-at-home mom, and of course more involved in our day-to-day lives. She is very smart, and she also has wonderful common sense. She approaches things from a point of logic, a point of ‘do it well’, a point of ‘get it done and move on.’ I admire those traits, and as I move forward every day, every year, I appreciate every moment when I think “My gosh, I am my mother!”
No matter how wonderful my parents were, and are, there were still moments/years when I, as a kid, screwed up. And honestly, when I say “screwed up”, I mean I endured and learned. I learned so much.
When my first boyfriend was having emotional affairs with my best friend, I learned how painful love can be, how conflicted we, as humans, can be, and how easily emotions and feelings can be manipulated.
When I realized my best friend was in an emotional affair with my boyfriend, I realized how incredibly horrible deceit and betrayal can be; I also learned not to trust people, to expect the worst from people, and to withhold the sacred parts of my feelings, thoughts, and emotions.
Those two scenarios happened before I was 16, by the way. The after years were even messier, with me dumping him without a single tear, then us coming back together a few months later, trying to figure out what flaws I must have for him to find me “lesser”. For 18 months, I lost a lot of weight. I gained weight back. I slept a lot. I didn’t sleep for days. I became a nail picker/biter. I obsessively manicured my nails. I focused on how I looked, and how boys reacted; I wandered around in baggy pants and shirts.
The point, ultimately, that I am trying to somehow reach, is that kids need space, time, and forgiveness. I fortunately grew up in a Facebook, Twitter less world. We had Geocities webpages, AOL Instant Messenger; we didn’t have Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and blogs.
Let kids rebel, safely. Rein them in. Know what your kids are doing online, but grant them the freedom to make (certain) mistakes. Teach them how to recognize when other kids need help, when other kids are making mistakes, and when online presence crosses the line.