Sorry if I’ve caused you any grief

Apologies can be sorry things as we’ve learned over the past few years as ‘celebrities’ such as Spitzer, Madoff, ARod, Blagolveich, Michael Phelps, Chris Brown, etc. fall from grace.

Even in my local town, the former treasurer of an elementary school Mother’s Club was recently sentenced to four years in prison for stealing approximately $136,000 of school proceeds during a five year period.

You don’t have to a victim to feel victimized. We find ourselves waiting for the next news story to break as we build protective walls of distrust.

What do our children think? What can we tell them and teach them about these blunders headlining the news?

Do what you’ve always done – teach by your example and don’t expect celebrities to be role models – that is your job. Be the kind of role model that does your personal best and doesn’t look for a silver bullet to meet unrealistic goals. But at the same time, don’t set unrealistic expectations for your children.

• Don’t fight to have them in the honors class if they really don’t belong there
• Don’t argue that the high school coach should give them more playing time if they aren’t the best players
• Don’t challenge the director of the play if the lead went to another child

It’s about putting the right person in the right job.

Which brings me to a person who said he was “simply doing his job” when he miraculously landed his 100,000 pound jetliner in the Hudson without losing a single life. Capt. Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger said he trained his whole life for that landing, as he shared the credit with his crew.

Imagine if Sully hadn’t earned his wings, done the work and was put in the job without the right skill set – the story would have had a different ending. Instead, he did it the old fashioned way; he did the work.

The people your kids look up to should be real, make real mistakes, and most importantly recover from them. The best lesson to teach your kids is that you don’t drown by falling in water, but by staying there.

I don’t have to know you to know that you, like me, have made more than your fair share of mistakes. Let’s enter a new era of responsibility and accountability and sing that old classic to our kids – – “just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.”

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7 Responses to “Sorry if I’ve caused you any grief”

  1. Lisa Cassilli says:

    Excellent and inspirational…we need to learn to forgive ourselves and, in turn, our children will learn to take their own mistakes in stride.

  2. Thanks, Tina. At Whole Hearted Parenting we’ve been talking to parents a lot lately about how to talk to their children when a role model like Michael Phelps makes a very public mistake that has some swift consequences. Two important points are (1) that mistakes are how we learn and (2) that having an inquiry with your child about their role model’s choices and what may be beneath the surface can be a rich learning experience. This is a great time to side-step judging mistakes and to talk instead about the consequences and intentions. I will put a link to your always awesome blog in the next issue of Parenting News, the free weekly e-zine from the International Network for Children and Families. Visit to subscribe.

  3. Lucy Collini says:

    My sentiments exactly!!

  4. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Tina.

    Responsibility is the key word when it comes to parenting and all our relationships. If we don’t take responsibility for our decisions and actions we are no longer behaving as mature adults. As role models for our children the spotlight is always upon us to take the high road, stand up to our obligations and own our behavior — even when we’d rather turn around and hide. A parent who can admit their own mistakes models how we expect our children to behave in their own lives. We all benefit from responsible parenting — and the results live with us for decades to come.

    Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
    The Voice of Child-Centered Divorce

  5. Beth Harris says:

    Bravo for you and bringing this to parent’s attention. I have raised two children with this things in mind and both with disabilities. They have each taken a different path but paying attention to their interests and unique characters paid off. They are tax paying, law abiding, and working citizens. Both would comment that they were treated as individuals with there own dreams. It is hard to get through the tough years when other parents bost on what there kids are doing (running here and there and never having any down time with family) Don’t fill so much time and then your kids can explore they’re abilities and passions.

  6. anne says:

    Thank you so much for this very personally needed inspiration. I realized last June that I was drinking too much. I decided to go into rehab. I was there for ten days. I also chose to be honest with my employers. I had worked for fifteen years and my drinking had not affected my work place. I lost my job due to this admission (a law suit is pending) My daughter blames our financial situation on my past behavior. While it’s true that had I never drank I never would have made the admission that led to my dismissal, it was not my drinking that lost me my job. I am struggling to survive and my relationship with my daughter is so important to me. I want to believe that though I taught her some hard life lessons she will also one day value the stregnth it takes to do the next right thing. That day seems a long way off if coming at all. Your words give hope that the future for us will be better than the present. Thank you.

  7. Brenda Nixon says:

    Good blog. When my girls were going through school, I used to tell them, “Do your own personal best,” so hopefully they wouldn’t compare themselves to others.

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