Throughout the years I have made many choices
Many choices I have made impulsively
and a large number of these impulsive ones I regretted later.
I know that many people do the same.
I have tried to learn from these choices, wrong and right
I know many people do the same but
I also know that many people do not.
Perhaps among the most important things I have learned
is not to overreact in a situation where I am in power.
The easiest thing to do is to overreact in these situations
and break some fragile feelings.
Recently I was in a hotel in Langkawi, Malaysia
My two (late-) teenage sons were with us.
My nephew was visiting from Belgium.
We all had planned to go and eat dinner in a nearby town.
Just as I we planned to leave for dinner, they had ordered room service
If they did something so obviously wrong in the past, I used to explode.
I have learned that explosion into a bout of anger is not the best choice.
If they did something like this in the past, I used to immediately concoct a punishment
I have also learned that punishment is not the best choice.
If they did something like this in the past,
I often did things that would spoil the whole evening
for them, for me, for my wife and for whomever we were with.
I have learned that this is also not the best choice.
I often did things that even lingered on for days and managed to spoil a few days.
Not a good choice either.
I have learned a lot from so many mistakes.
I was clearly expressing myself that this behaviour was not pleasing me.
I was clearly explaining them why this type of behaviour was wasteful and wrong.
I have planned to bring it up in our next family meeting and discuss in it further detail
I have planned not to preach but to bring them to an insight based on their own experiences
Maybe I am a slow learner on how to be a good parent.
Maybe I am just navigating in quite stormy waters.
Maybe I am still wrong in my current approach.
Some choices are really obviously wrong to me.
Others are more grey.
Raising children, raising teenagers, guiding adolescents:
A challenge requiring the maximum of our patience.
I have learned that it is easier to break fragile "things"
than to preserve them whole or repair them afterwards,