Sometimes you fall off the wagon. No, this isnít a piece about drinking. Or about dieting. It could be about either, though. Sometimes in life, you fall far short of a goal. Youíre on track to do something, and thenÖyouíre not anymore. Falling off the wagon doesnít define you as a person. Getting back on the wagon does.
When you fall off the wagon, you have two choices: you can sit on the ground and look around, bewildered, wondering what went wrong. That can take a long time. For some people, it can take the rest of their lives. Or, you can get back up and resume the journey. Have you lost some ground in the meantime? Probably. Will you have to change course a little to make up for the lost ground? Possibly. Is it doable? Absolutely.
Modeling this kind of behavior to our sons is essential. Our sons need to know that itís okay to fail. In fact, they need to see us do it. When something happens at work and a project doesnít come off when or how it was supposed to, donít hide your disappointment or dismay from your son (depending, of course, on his age Ė panicking a toddler is never helpful). Let him see your reaction. Let him see that his mom Ė she who always has it all under control Ė sometimes has things spin away for a little while. Why is this so important? So that you can show him how you gather the pieces and move on.
Showing our sons this kind of vulnerability can be scary. We donít want our sons to see the chinks in our armor. We donít want them to guess that sometimes we donít have all the answers. Especially as our sons get older, though, it is imperative that they understand that everyone, even Mom, sometimes falls down. It is the picking up and dusting off after the fall that will define what kind of a person a young man Ė and moms are some of the most important people who can teach him that crucial life skill.
You donít have to start with something big. Maybe you have stopped exercising daily. One day missed turned into two, which became three, which became a month. Comment to your son that it is never too late to resume a routine that has been allowed to slip. Let him see you recommit to something. Let him know that perfection is not required Ė oneís best effort will do. The sooner you begin creating this habit in your son, the greater the chance that he will develop the skills necessary to hop back on the wagon as he falls off it along his own lifeís journey. There are few greater gifts a mother can bestow on her son.