I’d like to argue that it is wrong to steal from any person the right to make mistakes and learn from the consequences of that mistake. When we rob a person from the right to make a mistake we rob them of the right to learn and grow as a human being.
I’ve worked in the field of addictions and have often come across families who consistently do not allow their parent, partner, friend, or child realize a natural consequence. Why is this a problem? Because it is human nature to make mistakes and learn from them so that we don’t make much larger mistakes in life. It seems cruel on many levels to allow a child to make small mistakes that hurt them, emotionally, even for a moment and yet in making and learning from that mistake a child is able to form pictures of the world that are accurate even if they are unfair at times.
I am not suggesting that we abuse children in any way, shape, or form. I believe that intelligent and educated parents can help children learn every needed skill for life without any abuse; including physical punishment/discipline and emotional abuse like sarcasm and/or passive aggressive communication. What I am suggesting is that we allow those we love to learn from mistakes instead of saving them from mistakes.
Mistakes and failure are the fundamental building stones for success. I do not know one successful person in business, relationships, sports, art, or science who hasn’t experienced many types of failure! The key is not to save people from failure. Instead, the key is to empower people we love to grow and learn from failure. I often think about the idiom I’ve heard: Give a person a fish and you feed that individual for a day. Teach that person how to fish and you feed that individual for the rest of their lifetime. The question is: how do we best teach people to feed themselves? The answer is: by journeying with people rather than either saving them from problems or completely abandoning them when they have problems.
When you walk alongside a person you love without fixing all their problems or running away each time they struggle, you are saying: I care about you enough to stay with you and I believe in you enough not to rob you of growing.
Not only does it harm someone when we rob them of the consequences of an action because they realize we don’t believe in them, it harms them for the rest of their life because they now lack an important skill that is part of growing and learning as a human being.
I am specifically making this post a very short one without a lot of explanation and examples because I’d love to hear what your thoughts are. What are some frustrations you have with people you love? How do you deal with those frustrations? These are important questions to wrestle with if we want to live a fuller live! Feel free to comment below.