Learning to Let Go
The Importance of Teaching Our Kids Forgiveness
article by Cindy G. Foust
Well, it’s the middle of the road, readers, well, the middle of the year anyways, and business is about to pick up for a lot of the BayouLife nation. That’s right, summer is here, and the time is right, for dancing in the streets. Wait, no, that’s a song, scratch that, I’m a little delirious friends, it’s been dance recital week at my house. Our life for the last seven days has revolved around hair buns, bobby pins, and Final Net…none of which I use very proficiently. As a matter of fact, I had to watch a YouTube video on making hair buns, but that didn’t work out too well, because my daughter’s teachers compared her bun to a “door knob.” For crying out loud, the most attention I have ever given to my hair has been putting it in a pony tail.
Wait, how in the cat hair did I get on hair buns? Where was I? Oh, dancing in the streets…just like we are about to dance right through the summer, and then the holidays will be upon us…again.
Time is flying at break neck speed, readers, and if you are like me, I am eating its dust. As I type this month’s column, in the early hours of the morning, both my children are across the hall from my office, in their rooms, sound asleep. Gosh, I wish this break neck pace would just shut right down for a while and let me catch my breath. I will try to refrain from being such a whiny-tail this month, because if you follow my column at all, you know I have been struggling with my son’s graduation and his upcoming move to college, some four hours away from me.
But that’s not all I have been struggling with, readers, and since I use the words of this column to sometimes serve as the makeshift psychologist that I probably really need, I will just lay it out there for you. Because, perhaps, you are struggling with this same issue, and well, reading this column is a lot less expensive than a therapist, so…you’re welcome. I’ve been struggling with something that has, quite frankly, made the last year of my life rather difficult, and on a couple of occasions, made it extremely difficult to maintain the good example to my two children, that, I think we, as parents, are charged with keeping.
So what is it, you ask? What is this “struggle” that has catapulted its way to the pages of my column? In a word…forgiveness. You heard me right, I have really struggled with forgiving someone (actually, multiple people) that have truly hurt me and my family, and let me tell you, there have been times it has had a polarizing affect on my life. You know, when you are growing up, or when I was growing up, like everyone else, I had experiences that made me learn the virtue of forgiveness. You know, like when your 9th grade boyfriend two-times you with a girl from another school (incidentally, who ended up two-timing him, so what goes around comes around); or when your sister wears your favorite Peter Pan boots (straight out of the 80’s fashion closet) and gets something black on them that you can’t get off.
Yeah, those seemed like big, overwhelming crises at the time, but truthfully, the real lesson in forgiveness doesn’t start to kick in until after you get to be parent and someone hurts your child. That, readers, is when the gloves come off, right? But the bigger challenge, I think, is teaching your child that quality, or working to instill that in your child, when you are just as upset, if not more, than they are. Yes, that’s a horse of a different color, wouldn’t you say?
To get even more specific, and isolate this conflict I’ve been having, when these nameless, faceless individuals, who you thought were your friends, your good friends, talk about you, your children, and your family, then oh my gosh, the gloves actually did just come off. But wait. Who’s the adult here? I’m afraid readers, in this case, that role might have gotten a wee bit fuzzy a time or two, because, well, I’m ashamed to admit, I didn’t handle it the way I should.
Now, before you hit the panic button and imagine that I was tied up in a wrestling match or my mug shot was on the front page of those newspapers that lay by the cash register at the convenience store, none of that happened. I’m happy to report that I actually held things together pretty well, but there were times when I let it get to me, and I let it get to me in front of my kids. That’s the fuzzy area, friends, that I am talking about.
Throughout our lives, no matter our age or station in life, none of us will be totally immune to betrayal or heartache at one time or another. It’s no different at our home; I think it just cuts a little deeper when you have been hurt by someone you thought cared about you.
The trick, however, is to figure out a way to rise above it, even when it involves your children’s feelings, and work to teach your kids the value in letting something go. I’ve had to do some deep reflecting over these last several months; and I have finally come to the conclusion that the feelings I have been holding in my heart haven’t been hurting anyone but me.
I’m the one who let it eat away at me; I’m the one who was upset; I’m the one who was sinking in the proverbial quicksand; so it had to be me that had to let it go. And so I have, not nearly as quickly as I typed those four words, but the progression has happened and I feel like someone has lifted a Buick off my chest. I’m also happy to report that my family also moved past this hurtful time, but not without several meaningful conversations about the “wrong” way that I handled things.
We learn by example, and I want my children to see positive, healthy behavior, despite the circumstances we are in. I am a flawed person, readers, we all are, we all make mistakes, but the age-old adage “we must learn from our mistakes,” still rings true today, and I hope my mistakes make me stronger and, well, more tolerant as I continue to navigate these mid-life years.
What about you, BayouLife nation, anything resonate with you this month? Any feelings you need to roll down the window and fling out (gosh that is so poetic)? If so, “Let it Go, Let it Go” (I’m back to singing and dancing) and move on down the road. The weight it will lift is quite palpable.
Thank you again for letting me sound off and sound out through the pages of this magazine that I love so much. I value this sort of relationship we’ve cultivated over the years and look forward to sharing other life experiences with you.