I saw a darling photo today that was taken 5 years ago. It was a picture of a little child that I know pretty well. My first thought when I saw the picture was of how cute and happy the little child looked. Smiling, with a glow in the eyes.
And then just as quickly my mind jumped ahead to the years that have gone by since that photo and what that little child has experienced.
The hurt the child has experienced at such a young age, the decisions the adults around the child have made that have impacted this child’s life in ways that this child never dreamed of. Because no child dreams of the not so good consequences that come from their parents decisions. But consequences do happen.
We aren’t here to be perfect parents. That’s a ridiculous ideal that does not exist. But that photo, it made me stop and it made me sad. Because as parents we are going to make mistakes because no parent in the history of the world has ever been perfect. No human in the history of the world has ever been perfect. But we do need to be more present and aware as parents, as people, as human beings. We need to be aware that our choices, especially the ones we know are not good, do have consequences and those choices impact not only us, but our children’s lives too.
When you have a child you aren’t just making decisions for yourself, you’re making them for your little one as well. You can’t just think in the moment anymore, because it’s no longer just about how it will affect the parent but also how it will affect the child.
This child had no idea the circumstances of her parents. This child was just happy to be playing. This child had no idea the choices her parents made would have such an impact on her life.
So as I looked at the photo I thought to myself, we have to stop and think, even if it goes against our selfish desire at the moment, how will this decision pan out for my child? What consequences may come of this 5 years from now and what will I think when I look back at a picture of my kid then? Hindsight is a powerful thing. Should we sometimes just live on a whim without an afterthought to what consequences come of the choices we make? Especially if we have children? No.