FPQ- March 31, 2021


Is there really such a thing as a necessary evil, or is it just a way for us to rationalize or justify doing something bad?

This is a provocative question extraordinaire.
I believe it can be alternately phrased do the “ends justify the means”?
I’ve struggled with this for years. I just can’t answer it simply.
My knee jerk answer is “Yes, it’s an excuse.” for many people but, more importantly, most governments use that excuse for horrid behavior.
But secondly, framing the question in a more benign form, “Do we need to do unpleasant things for the ‘greater good’?”, my answer is also ‘yes’.
If you think parents might be happier to just ‘give in’ to their kids and never restrict their movement or activities, you’re right. In fact, lazy and indifferent parents often do.
But, those who deem it their duty to train their kids to be responsible adults choose the hard road. Parenting isn’t a popularity contest, it’s a gauntlet.
Making your kids realize that they, and they alone, are responsible for their own actions ( and reactions) is a trial. At some point, all kids will be confronted with troubles (That’s life) but smoothing out their young lives isn’t a wise choice. Protecting them from troubles or ugliness, isn’t a good rule either, unless to protect their innocence at tender ages.
What you get if you overprotect kids are kids unprepared for life. Like the ones hiding in ‘safe spaces’ at universities these days.
No one has a pass… no one deserves not to be challenged… no one gets stronger without meeting resistance and parents have the difficult responsibility to watch their beloved children fail.
A distraught 6 year old who forgets her library book, because her parent didn’t remind her on library day, is hard to watch. Parents’ hearts hurt watching that. But better a few of those failures than having a young adult who believes rules and deadlines are arbitrary or someone else’s fault when they’re not met. That arrogance won’t serve them or society well.
So, I’ll say “unpleasantness, disappointment, and being offended” are necessary ‘evils’ that parents need to offer their kids in the form of backing off with parental protection. How they learn to deal with those things will make ALL the difference in their later success and, most importantly, their happiness and self-confidence.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #115 – This, That, and The Other (fivedotoh.com)

Building Self-esteem

133If you’ve ever watched a baby struggling to take her first steps, you’ve watched an exercise in self-esteem building. The struggle leading to sweet success is written on her face.

Parents waving and clapping make the event super fun yet the glow of satisfaction, the child exhibits, comes quite instinctively. It’s from the sense of accomplishment that baby feels.

Our modern society understands that self-esteem is very valuable to a healthy whole person, but sometimes, the zeal of parents, endeavoring to promote this, actually has a counter-productive effect.

The biggest misconception, about self-esteem, is that it stems from happiness. The happiness on baby’s face (above) is the end result of her struggles, bumps, and mistakes. It is not the cause of her satisfaction.

cleanup 451lips

I don’t know one mother who has not felt mortified by the realization that it’s “library day”, at school, and her child’s book has been left behind on the kitchen table. Take heart mom…your child will survive the trauma. She will learn, also, that responsibility for her own happiness comes from herself.  I speak from experience and my own mistakes. In hind-sight, I thought “good” moms smoothed the path leading to their children’s success. This was not a wise philosophy for building independence and responsible behavior.

It is clear to me, now, that self-esteem lives alongside of feeling capable. We learn much more from our mistakes and, by resolving, not to repeat them. This advice is directed toward new moms. Bite your tongue, and let your child fail while they are young and their problems (very big to them at the time) are not so big. Be there to help them design a better approach but avoid being the answer.

Katherine age 5
Katherine age 5

Hey, every parent makes mistakes. This is why they get a second chance with grandchildren. 😉