Watching my children reject the values I raised them with made me feel like a failure, until the birth of my first grandchild. Here’s what I’ve learned about the importance of evolving beliefs.

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I always thought that what I was sharing and teaching my children as they grew up was right. As they grew up into young adults, however, they started behaving differently and trying things that I often didn’t agree with.

Have you ever tried your hardest to convince someone to do something because you 100 percent believe it is the right thing to do, and they do the opposite? How did you feel about that? I for one, found it frustrating and made me feel like a failure as a Mom.

Aren’t we supposed to pass on our values and share our experiences so that our children don’t make mistakes?

Once I became a grandmother, I realized this was not the case. Here are some things I learned watching my daughter become a mother as I began to take on my new role of grandmother.

1) Flexibility

As a mother, I thought things had to be done a certain way. There was a particular formula for life and that’s what my children should follow to be successful.

Finish school, go to college, get a degree, and then a good job. Once they’d done that then they should get married, buy a house, and finally have children.

As it turned out my daughter instead decided to work for a year and then go traveling and my son decided on an apprenticeship. This was not what I’d had in mind for either of them, and was hard for me to accept at the time.

But looking back now, they both have wonderful lives and my daughter wouldn’t have met her partner had she stayed in the same city all her life like me.

I now understand that beliefs are adaptable and they are meant to evolve when we experience new things. I’ve now had to venture out of the safety of my hometown and visit my daughter in countries I never thought I would go which has taught me the flexibility and the value of letting go.

2) Generational shifts

As I mentioned above I had an idea about how life should pan out because in my generation that’s just how it was.

However, beliefs change with generations. What was once important to me, may not be important to my children or grandchildren. Now I can see the shifts as my daughter chooses a different parenting style than mine. And guess what, my granddaughter is thriving! 

What was seen as normal when I was growing up has changed. I have to admit when my children chose to do things differently I was a bit embarrassed at first. How was I going to say that my daughter was working in a pub so she could save money to travel when other friends had children studying medicine and law? I felt like a failure compared to the other mothers.

These days I’m so proud of both my traveling daughter, and also my son who now owns his own plumbing business.

3) Open-mindedness 

I always thought I was open-minded but I did think my children were perhaps too open-minded when it came to some things. I thought there was open-mindedness and then there was letting go of your values and beliefs and accepting any old thing that came into fashion and I most certainly wasn’t going to be doing that.

As it turns out, I was wrong. As I watched my granddaughter grow up accepting of everyone and anyone, without even giving their differences a second look, I started to reassess the way I looked and judged others. Perhaps I wasn’t as open-minded as I thought. 

Perhaps it doesn’t matter what the person decides to tattoo on their body or do to their hair. I guess it doesn’t affect me personally when someone has a face full of piercings or wears clothes I wouldn’t dream of wearing out of the house. And maybe it’s a good thing that people are expressing their true selves

4) Acceptance

As I began to master the art of being open-minded I also found myself accepting people different from me. They sort of go hand in hand, these two values. 

As I mentioned before, I began to accept people who I had looked down on before for having different ideals than I. It was hard to do especially because I’d had this rigid way of thinking how life should be drummed into me for so long.

But watching the way my daughter and granddaughter navigated life with the many different people around them changed me for the better. They showed me that people can be happy living life differently from the way I thought it was meant to be lived. And how can I argue with happiness?

5) Connection

As I let go of my old rigid ways of thinking and branched out a bit, I began to meet people whom I never would have met before. 

Instead of fighting with my daughter, we became more connected through our shared understanding that there isn’t just one way to do life. 

The people I met while visiting her traveling were from all walks of life and I soon realized there were many ways to do this thing called life because everyone has a different story, advantages, and disadvantages that they use to create their life and happiness. What’s meant for one person does not always work for another.

6) Legacy

As I look at my granddaughter I see parts of myself, my husband, my daughter, and her partner. It’s the most beautiful collection of us all that she gets to bring with her into the future and to share with all the people she meets.

She now goes to an international school and has friends who are from many different countries. She gets to learn about their cultures, religions, and ways of life as well as that of the country she is currently living in. 

What my granddaughter is getting from this is invaluable and she will be able to pass this on to everyone she meets. She is the legacy I never wanted or expected until I witnessed it in person.

And maybe she might even go to college one day.

7) Hope

The biggest and best thing I got out of becoming a grandmother was hope. Hope has given me an optimistic outlook on life

When I look at my beautiful granddaughter I think “Wow! She’s got everything going for her”. When I look at how amazing her childhood has been so far, it gives me hope that even in my old age maybe I can still improve myself, enjoy life a bit more, let go, and embrace the everchanging world I live in.

My new hope for my family is that they are safe, happy, and kind. 

I see now that success looks different than what I was taught as a child and that being happy and kind rather than comparing your life to your neighbors might just be the secret to life

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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