A few weeks back, writing Facebook friends and colleagues lamented that their adult kids’ failure to acknowledge Father’s Day felt like their failure to parent right.
I thought about some of the personal reactions I got to my post, so pleased with my own progeny for their achievements. Some were of the “you-did-well,-Mom!”
I remember feeling this was not right. My kids’ achievements are theirs. So are their failures.
We have a tendency to claim credit when credit is not due, and after a certain point (for the sake of unified definition let’s call it the age of majority) what they achieve is not our achievement. When they fail to do the right thing, (and I know my friends and myself, we did teach them right and modeled it also) it’s all theirs.
The same for our other babies, our books. My achievements are in writing them, and getting a publisher to take them on. If they are not stellar marketing successes this is more a failure of the marketing at the publishers, whose main role is to publish, i.e. make public. A book that is a mega success is also more a credit to the publisher. The author’s role is limited. Writing a good book is one thing, having it make a commercial splash is another.
It’s about taking responsibility. I am happy for a friend who had overcome adversity, but I have no business being “proud of her.” We use the word proud all too often. It’s best to prick that balloon before it makes us explode, or implode.
The most empowering thought I can offer today— own your own actions. Take neither blame nor credit from others.The preacher steps down now.