There is nothing more trying, as a parent, then seeing the approaching train wreck but having to let it happen, so our kids can learn from their mistakes. As a control freak Mom, it is especially hard.
Every night in preparation for dinner, my son sets the table. He properly folds the napkin, then places the silverware and his cup. Then he brings the milk to the table, and gets ready to pour himself a glass. This is where I take a deep breath and hold it. He opens the milk, and 99% of the time he pours the milk without any spills. And I exhale a sigh of relief that the tan carpet in my dinning room isn’t soaking up spilling milk. All is well.
But what if the milk spills? While I’m holding my breath, I am secretly holding the cup steady. I’m using ultimate mind control to keep the milk from coming out of the carton too fast. Praying, please don’t let the milk spill. But what if it does? Will it be the end of the world, or is there something to be gained?
Looking back over my adult life, I see where the mistakes I made created the largest opportunities for learning. And maybe had there been more room for me to make mistakes when I was a kid, I could have saved myself some drama in my early adulthood. So, I see there is value in letting my son make mistakes. Accidents are opportunities to learn.
I don’t want him to spill the milk. But if spilling the milk helps him learn a lesson, and prevents him from going through something difficult, I’ll put up with the rotting milk smell. Because in the end, it really is all about him learning and growing into an amazing person. What should I say about spilled milk? “What the pickles?”