Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.

I want the world for my children.

I want them to escape bad things and not make choices that they regret.

I want them to be successful.

I want them to be adventurous (yet safe).

I want them to be honest.

I want them to be kind.

I want them to be educated.

I want them to take joy in the little things.  And the big things.

I don’t want them to have regrets, like I do.  I don’t want them to look back on their life and replay instances in their mind where they could have done something but didn’t.  For whatever reason.   One of my biggest regrets involves instances where human kindness/compassion/care could have made a difference, but it was withheld, which in turn made a big difference.  But not a good one.  I replay scenes in my mind where I was mean to someone………for a variety of reasons, none of them valid.  I replay scenes when I observed bullying and teasing and not only didn’t I step in to stop it, but I didn’t try to make them feel better after wards, either.  Let’s not even get started on the regrets I have of bad choices that I made that possibly taught me a lesson but also changed the course of my life.

I am reminded of a day in the 4th grade that changed my life forever.  There was this boy in my class that transferred in mid year.  He was from Mexico and didn’t speak a lick of English.  Because of his inability to communicate at the same level as the rest of the class, I could tell he felt isolated.  His inability to participate in lessons that were instructed in a language he was just beginning to learn must have been frustrating.  At the very least.  For some unknown reason, I didn’t like him, which doesn’t make any sense, but whatever.   He was never mean to me, or did anything to deserve what I did/allowed to happen to him.

One day during art I walked passed his desk and I dragged my pencil across his paper.  Why I did this, I’ll never know.  He got mad and retaliated by doing the same thing I did to his paper on the back of my shirt with a magic marker.  I deserved what he did to me.  I knew this at the time, yet it made me mad and I told the teacher what he had done to me, omitting what I had done to him.  He didn’t have the language skills to defend himself and he got sent to the Principal’s office.  For a spanking.  They did that in school back then.  As he walked away I felt the most tremendous amount of guilt and sadness.  I knew I shouldn’t have done what I’d done.  I shouldn’t have written on his paper OR told on him know that he couldn’t defend himself.  I could have been a nicer person.  Yet I wasn’t.  I should have rectified the situation by being honest and apologizing (which I didn’t).  If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn’t have done what I did.  But I did.  I’ll never know if the events of the day changed his life, but how can something like that not?

I want my children to be kinder than I was.

I want them to make others happy by association.

I want them to be happy.

I want them to be better than I was.  I want them to avoid the mistakes that I made.  I don’t want them to learn the hard way that the way that leads to regret is NOT the way.

I can hope, right?

To hear what others are saying about this, visit MamaKat’s place.

Comments

  1. 3

    says

    i want the same for my kids, to not look back on things or events and wince because they did *that*. even though i know that isn’t realistic. we all need to make mistakes, do stupid, mean, silly things and carry our lessons with us.

  2. 6

    says

    Wow, powerful and provocative post. When they’re old enough to understand, if you just let your kids read the story about the boy in art class, they’ll learn a lot.

    I hope my kids will grow up without regrets, too, but I’m not sure anybody ever does. Or, if they do, I’m not sure they end up grown-up. At any rate, I hope their regrets will be as small as possible.

  3. 7

    says

    I think hope is important. I wonder have you told your kids this story? Seems like it would be a great way to open the doors of the conversation that might change the course of their lives too. Thanks for sharing this post – there are things that we each can do to offer compassion and love by just speaking up.

  4. 9

    says

    I want the same for my kids, too.

    Sometimes I think we need to make some mistakes in order to learn to do and be better. If our kids do make a wrong choice, hopefully they will learn from it. And as parents, hopefully we can use our past experiences to help our kids be good people.

  5. 11

    says

    I think that with time and age, we realize the faults of our past. It’s hard to recognize what we are doing at the moment… especially with such young minds.

  6. 12

    says

    Awww….. obviously this guilt has saddled you for years. I love that you are open and honest and caring enough to worry about it now. So many people would not. Why don’t you write an open letter to him on your blog and at least that way you’ve apologized. Who knows? Maybe he will actually see it or hear about it?

    Love the rest of your list too.

  7. 13

    says

    I think as parents we all want this for our children. But unfortunately we have to allow them to make mistakes and stumble and even fall at times as they go through this crazy school called life.

  8. 14

    says

    Wow. We are always going to have regrets for the things that we’ve done in the past, mistakes that we’ve made. The important thing is to learn from them and teach the next generation how NOT to be.

  9. 17

    says

    It takes a lot to admit a wrong, to admit it just to ourselves is hard but you are doing something your children would value a lot from knowing you are taking it public. That takes a lot of strength to say “I was wrong.” I know if you could you’d tell him “I am sorry” perhaps by putting it out there, into the world he will receive it.

  10. 18

    says

    WOW! I felt really bad for that little boy…however, don’t be so hard on yourself. Yes it was wrong then but the good thing is that you’ve learned and grew from it so that you can pass this lesson on to your own kids. This is a great post!

    stopping by from mama kat’s

  11. 19

    says

    Sometimes I think things like this happen so that we can learn something. You have that example and know what it’s like to treat someone like that and know that you’d never want to do it again…not the tattling on someone, but just in general, how to treat people.

    Loved the honesty in this post!

  12. 20

    Susie's Homemade says

    Unfortunately, the mistakes that they make today, create the adults that they are meant to be.

  13. 21

    says

    I have so many hopes for my kids, too. It’s the way it goes….we just want things to be better for them, easier for them, than it was for us, but they still have to learn the same way that we did.

  14. 23

    says

    Angie I think your want list for your children is a wonderful one. The only thing I think it is impossible to avoid is your children having regrets. There will always be things we did we wish we had not and things we did not do we wish we had. We all make mistakes for a whole variety of reasons. All I hope is that my daughter learns from the mistakes she makes and becomes a better person as a result.

  15. 25

    says

    It’s through difficult times like that, that we become better people. Sometimes no matter what people tell us, we still have to do it anyway. We live and learn and sometimes the consequences are painful but worth it.

    It grows character and makes us better.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  16. 26

    says

    Aww, poor little boy. I know you feel horrible about it. I commend you for opening up and sharing that experience with us. The great thing is you can use it to teach your children about kindness, compassion and honesty. Great post Angie! I chose to publish my bucket list. Come on over and check it out when you get a chance. Hope you’re having a wonderful summer with the kids.

    Kristi, Live and Love…Out Loud
    @TweetingMama

  17. 27

    Melissa says

    It’s so true.
    My brother’s kid almost died from bullying.
    It’s made it real for me and my family and we’ve taken steps to teach our kids, from firsthand experience, about how it can effect people’s lives.

  18. 28

    says

    You are honest as always!!!! We all had our bad moments as children but it’s nice you can use this as a learning moment for your kids! Maybe you taught him something invaluable that day too that changed him but for the better!

  19. 29

    says

    Thanks for sharing such a personal event. I think everyone has done something they regret deeply. Sometimes mistakes are the only way to really learn and grow.

    As a mother, I want my children to have everything they desire. But I know that would make them into little monsters. Now I just hope they will learn the lessons they need to become compassionate adults as painlessly as possible.

  20. 31

    says

    well, ms. seven clown, it seems you are on the right path. having a mother that recognizes her own failings like your (brave to share) example, makes you a very good teacher and leader of the pack. if you live that way now, you have nothing to fear, for the chillins will learn from you.

  21. 32

    says

    If you haven’t already, I think you should tell your kids your story. This post was powerful, and I felt for you and for the little boy. What you want for your children is what I hope they learn from you, and pass along to their children!

  22. 33

    says

    We all have moments like this that we are not proud of. The key is that you realize it wasn’t the right thing to do. It seems too often that people don’t realize stuff like this is wrong and continue doing it.

    And I share the same wishes for my son. May he be better than me!

  23. 34

    says

    SO TRUE!! Although I have to admit, it isn’t just for my own child that I wish these things… it is for all children/teens who still have time to change their circumstance! Heck, while we’re at it, I should wish this for a lot of adults, too!

  24. 36

    says

    and remember you were 9. 9. and remember that you’re teaching your kids to be kind. every day. 🙂 we all do stupid things when we’re young. at least you’re enlightened enough to know . some ppl grow up and NEVER know.

  25. 38

    says

    I can relate to what your saying, but I’m a big believe in making our own mistakes…and trusting that what we’ve instilled in our children will, in the end, prevail. Your post was delightful and inspiring.

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