Consider this idea:
Take actions and make decisions you are proud of.
What if this idea was the #1 focus for the day? Take actions and make decisions you are proud of.
Do the best you can in each moment with what you’ve learned up to this point in time. And if it turns out you don’t like the result, skip the Monday morning quarterbacking (you didn’t know then what you know now), take and assess the information, and then choose differently the next time. You can’t ruin your life (that’s a BS story that keeps us from trying something new and taking a next step), nor can you fail at life (life = existence, and we exist — we’ve already got our A in the bag as wildly successful at life). Yes, we make make some doozies along the way (everyone does). And then we can try again.
Note that this is not about our parents, children, family, friends, teachers, or anyone else being proud of our actions and decisions. It’s about EACH OF US being proud of our own actions and decisions. It’s about EACH OF US trusting that we did the best we could with what we knew in the moment (and by extension, knowing another did their best too). It’s about EACH OF US knowing that if we don’t like the result, we can take what we’ve learned and choose/act differently next time.
To the parents: Your children may choose differently than you do. They are not less smart. No, they haven’t taken as many trips around the sun yet as you have and may not see patterns as quickly — and it’s okay. They have the benefit of less ingrained stories, which can offer a fresh perspective. They are learning. They are the ones who ultimately need to be proud of their decisions. They belong to themselves.
Offer support you feel good about offering — and then let it be in the space where they can decide. And what they choose might not be what you’d do (or anything close to what you’d do) — and it’s still okay. Focus on your own self (which will indirectly benefit them as well): Are you proud of your actions and decisions, doing the best you can with what you know in each moment, in every interaction with children, family, friends, and those you don’t know yet? This isn’t about being perfect. It’s about trying the best you’ve got then and there, and then tweaking as you go.
For the children, particularly in teen years: Your parents may choose differently than you do. They are not less smart nor more wise. They are simply humans who have taken more trips around the sun than you have, and with more trips comes the opportunity to see patterns more quickly — and there is value to be distilled from experience, if you want to listen. Note that they are still learning and trying their best (whether it seems like it or not), and doing what seems right to them. They are continuing to work on making decisions and actions they are proud of, and they are continuing to learn what it means to truly belong to themselves. Keep in mind they are trying, and then focus on taking actions and making decisions you truly feel good, happy, and proud about.
At the end of the day, we’re the ones who have to face ourselves in the mirror. It’s not our job to manage or control the lives or decisions of anyone else (nor can we, really). We are in charge of doing the best WE can (and there is no “perfect” nor one “right” way).
Take actions and make decisions YOU are proud of.