Let’s face it; you can’t make it through life as a parent without making mistakes. And making mistakes as a parent doesn’t automatically equate to someone being failure at it…nor do the mistakes made by your children. But the two can be very closely related.
Let me describe the difference:
Your children making the same mistakes you did as a young person doesn’t make you a failure at being a parent. Your children making the same mistakes you did as a young person with your blessing makes you a failure at being a parent.
Children are going to do things that are wrong – even when they know they don’t have the blessing of his or her parent. But for a child to gain a stamp of approval from a parent while they are doing something morally, ethically, financially or whatever is conceivably wrong is just plain wrong.
Listen to this – the youthful mistakes of a parent does not give that parent’s child a right to make the same mistakes! A wrong from a parent’s past will remain a wrong for his or her child in the future. And we will fail as parents if we don’t understand this principle.
Parents are there to be a guide for their children – a guide that hones the conscience by stepping in when a wrong decision is being made whether that child realizes it or not…and whether or not your conscience made the right decision when facing the same situation.
There’s a world of difference between making mistakes as a parent and failing as a parent; but intentionally allowing our children to do the former puts us dangerously close to the latter.
“Now therefore, listen to me, my children; pay attention to the words of my mouth:” (Proverbs 7:24)
And by the way – the above quoted words came from a parent who made huge mistakes in his life, and that’s why he gave his son the warning, not the approval, that he needed to hear when it came to the responsibility of making his own choices.