Life Lessons That You Beat Yourself Up For

I wish there was a way to pass all knowledge down through books or direct teaching. You know, like “Don’t go out with that guy. He’s a jerk,” or “I wouldn’t trust that person if I were you.” Sadly, however, there are a lot of lessons that you have to learn for yourself. And some of them are of the sort that you have to learn over and over again.

Such is the case with my daughter-in-law. She considered the boys’ babysitter her friend, and she is disappointed in the recent behavior and attitude of said babysitter. Actually, she is angry. She left the boys, her most precious possessions so to speak, with the babysitter. And she feels they are being misused and abused.

She called me at lunch, which is something she had never done before, to relate something that happened which concerned her. She got a call from the three-year-old, who was sobbing madly, and he begged her to come and pick him up. She works in a law office, though, and she couldn’t drop everything and go. Like all mothers, those who work and those who don’t, she feels guilty. Guilty because the boys are not receiving the kind of care that she would give them. Guilty because she trusted the babysitter and said sitter is, evidently, not trustworthy.

I tried to reassure her. “You’re taking them out of the situation,” I said. “That’s all you can do.”

“But it really bothers me,” she said. “THOSE ARE MY BOYS!”

“I know, honey,” I said. “But you didn’t put them in that situation on purpose. The sitter presented herself as a professional, and you believed her. That wasn’t dumb of you. Now you know why, with all of her credentials, she doesn’t work at a daycare or preschool. Lesson learned.”

I know that I can’t take away what she is feeling, though. It is one thing when you misjudge a person and YOU take the consequences for that misjudgment. It is quite another when the people taking the consequences are your children. And that was the case today. Little RJ, at age three, was left in time out for half an hour. Whatever happened to the one minute for every year old the child is?

If I lived closer, I could help with the boys. But I can’t trouble-shoot relationships. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to judge people wrongly to learn how to evaluate with a more discerning eye. I did a lot of “discerning” in my twenties and early thirties, and I do my fair share of it today. I am better at it, but I still make mistakes.

Beth, honey, I know you are going to beat yourself up anyway, but sometimes you have to make a lot of mistakes before you learn. All you can do when you find out you were wrong is to take steps to correct yourself, which you have done. All of this will make you a wiser person some day. I am sorry that it hurts you so much now.


1 Response to “Life Lessons That You Beat Yourself Up For”

  1. 1 Beth March 16, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    Thanks mom, It is hard but I have learned from it.

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