How do you sit back and watch someone you love make a mistake? When you KNOW that this thing is wrong on so many levels? When you know that your opinion will fall on deaf ears even if you give it, when you know the person’s heart is set on this path to what you see as self destruction and torment?

It’s something that I struggle with as a parent too – you can only guide your kids so much, at what point do you sit back and let them make their own mistakes so they can learn from them? At what point or which type of situation do you step in and give voice to your oppositional opinion?

As a friend, a parent, a sibling, a lover – is it our job to just support even if we don’t agree? Do we keep our mouths closed if not asked for our opinion? Do we only voice our thoughts if asked? Should we support a friend / family member even if they take a different path?

Lots of rambling thoughts for a Saturday night….. is unconditional love really unconditional??

7 responses to “Mistakes

  1. It’s different with a kid/family member verses a friend. With your kids, yes, unconditional love has to be unconditional. You give advice, but you support them when they need it.

    With friends, you can only watch the self-destruction for so long. It comes to a point where if they are relying on you and never follow sound advice, it’s time to cut the cord.

  2. I agree with Bethany. There is definitely a difference between family members (especially kids) and friends. Sometimes the connection with the latter has to go. With the former, you may sometimes have to make hard decisions, sometimes tough love is necessary, but your door and your heart must always be open.

  3. well, I suppose on the long run, it is the same with kids, except that you would take more crap before you cut the cord. But even with children there can be a moment where just stop contact, because your advise is not heeded, but you are called to rescue in difficult situations.

    Fortunately, most parents are not in a situation where they have to test this hypothesis, because most children behave more or less appropriately…

  4. I think we spend our entire lives trying to figure this out. I don’t even have kids yet and I know this is going to stress me out.

  5. I think a key question is whether the person would be receptive to your advice or not. There are times when those – including our nearest and dearest – need to face certain challenges alone. In these instances, popping up with friendly / motherly loving advice will only fall on deaf ears and can even be destructive– at most we can keep our homes and hearts open and emphasize the open invitation for whenever it might be welcome. This said — we can never watch our loved ones do themselves irreparable damage without screaming, shouting and protesting as loudly and largely as we possible can.

  6. Just to throw another angle in here – now you know how God feels, so to speak. This is, after all, Hashem’s attribute of g’vurah – withholding Himself in order to allow us free choice. We have no free choice unless we can also choose wrong. But without free choice, we can’t emulate (even on a human plane) the only uncompelled Being at all.

    I know it sounds trite, but I am a parent to. And sometimes parenting gives us additional ways to see things as (anthropomorphically) our Father in heaven sees them.

  7. Sometimes you have to let them figure it out on their own and then be there to help them back up afterwards.

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