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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Forgiving ‘the Fallible Parent’ Inside Us

Have you ever woken to find a text message from your young-adult daughter or son needing that ride home they organised tentatively with you earlier? — the trouble being, the ride was needed six hours ago! One reality quickly opens the mind to a new fear. How did they get home? You fumble with your phone and call every number they have: theirs, their partner’s; the home phone... no answer. Getting quite frantic at this stage, you decide to pray.

There’s a common explanation for this. Apart from phones switched to “silent” mode, human short term memory is fallible. It’s not just people who smoke a lot of marijuana that this happens to. We all forget things.

But the parent’s job is to not forget, right?

Perhaps, but we’ll all forget. Maybe the key is to use a reminder tool so we don’t forget as much, but it’s a fact of psychological science — within a field called “human factors” — that we make what we might term “the stupidest” mistakes. We always will.

So, we’ll need to forgive... ourselves.

Factors for Forgiveness

Forgiving ourselves is always made easier if the son or daughter we’ve let down is forgiving. If they’re not, it will make it harder to forgive ourselves — or perhaps not harder; the process may longer.

Forgiving ourselves is a process of ensuring that our sounder minds are informing our wanderingly scared hearts — and it’s a process that needs to be repeated for as long as necessary, before it sits and our guilt feelings are eased.

Our sound minds can restore our ailing hearts — and quell our problematic recurrent thought patterns — by simply acknowledging the truth: we are fallible. We make mistakes; they’re not intentional.

Perhaps there is no better focus than to simply be gentle with ourselves in the light of our human fallibility, accepting that we will continue making mistakes despite our very best of intentions.

That truth should soothe us; the further meandering in the quagmire of guilt allayed.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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