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It's not my fault!"
Excuses! I have never heard someone come in late for a meeting and say it was his fault.
When we are late for work, it's because of the traffic. If our kids fare badly at school, it's because of the system. Some adolescents behave irresponsibly because they have had a deprived childhood. If we lose our jobs, it's because there was too much politics at work. The new government could not fulfil campaign promises because the previous government never told them the cash reserves were low. And criminals are not creeps, they are the casualties of society!
All through our lives, we blame our shortcomings on people or circumstances. No matter the situation, there is always someone else to blame.
Where will the buck stop?
Taking responsibility for our own actions is something we must learn to do. Teaching a child to make his own decision and face the consequences is far more important than most parents realise.
And so, in an attempt to protect our children, we take decisions on their behalf. Teenagers leave most decisions to their friends. Our career choices are made by parents and relatives. Parents even make excuses for their children's mistakes.
Thus, we go through practically half our lives allowing someone else to decide for us. The result? Leaving important decisions to others becomes a habit.
If we allow our kids to face the consequences of their decisions, they will learn to be more careful the next time. It's a slow process, but crucial to the development of one's personality.
Allow your kids to choose between a picnic and a movie. Or let them decide between an ice-cream and chocolate cake. And do not compromise once they have made their choice. This simple exercise would teach them the importance of making the right choice.
As they grow up, allow them to make more important decisions, keeping in mind the alternatives and consequences. It would make them stronger individuals, capable of making the right choices when it really matters.
Parents sometimes feel their children turn out badly because of poor parenting. They blame themselves for not having enough time to spend with their kids, or enough money to send them to the best schools. This anxiety is only heightened by the countless books, journals, and articles that 'teach' you how to spend 'quality time' with your children. I wonder if the authors of these books had enough time for their own kids.
I personally disagree with these theories. Hardships make us stronger, if anything. Children of working parents learn to become independent sooner than those who have 'full-time mothers'.
In fact, kids who grow up the hard way appreciate life's countless blessings better. They know what 'hard work' means. They are practical. They know how to handle their own problems, fight their own battles. They develop a respect for life. Ask me. I grew up that way and I have only admiration for my parents. It is in them I see inspiration, determination, perseverance, achievement and the never-say-die attitude. What better role models could I have asked for? Innumerable times I have found myself wishing I were just like them.
There are hundreds of children who have seen their parents divorce, faced domestic violence, or drunk fathers. But many grow up to be responsible adults. They don't use their childhood as an excuse for failure.
There are physically and mentally challenged kids who go through life with a positive mindset and accomplish more than what is expected of them. These are examples for us, of what determination and will power can do.
Making excuses is easy. It is escapism. It takes a lot more courage to stand up and say, "It's my fault."
Let's teach our children to say that. Let's teach them to be honest with themselves. But for this, we need to be honest with ourselves first.
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