I came across this blog/letter the other day and was very touched by it. In it a dad, who is also a hollywood screenwriter, writes a letter to his kids hoping to teach them a lesson about life. A recent film project he was involved with flopped, and badly. Scathing critic reviews virtually made the film null and void. Lots of money was lost, and many an ego bruised. The dad initially saw himself a victim, and wanted to blame everyone but himself for the failure of this film. But something changed for him, and he realized he needed to stop blaming, and take responsibility for what went wrong. He realized that he did not want his children to see life's "failures" as always someone else's fault. What learning can there be in that? Failure is part of life, that is how we get better. What can I do differently the next time?
Many people (adults not kids) also see themselves as victims. A lost job is blamed on a bad boss. A bad financial situation blamed on the financial meltdown. A relationship gone sour blamed on the other person's faults. A bad golf game blamed on a bad course or wind. Sometimes it really is a fault not our own, but sometimes it is our fault, and accepting responsibility for our part is the start to making healthy change. Modeling this process for our kids is one of the most important parts of parenting.
When we accept responsibility for our behavior, we show kids that to be human is to be imperfect. We let them know that mistake making is normal, and from this comes growth. Be imperfect for your kids, and allow them to do the same. This dad did!