Your children will make lots of mistakes. Make peace with it

campus editor

Being the youngest sibling can often feel like you’re a tumbleweed. Always looking to see what other people are doing so that you don’t feel like you’re lost as well. 

At least that’s what I feel I was conditioned to do. Growing up, I had five older siblings. That’s right, five. I was the typical younger sibling, following my brother and sisters around because I had nothing better to do.  

When my parents noticed, they kept saying the same phrase: “They made mistakes so you better not make any.” What they failed to understand is that no matter how much I Iearn from other people’s mistakes, I am bound to make my own. Parents pressuring their children, especially the youngest ones to excel without preparing them for the human aspect of failing is a recipe for their children’s lasting and harmful failure. 

I was born in the U.S. but from seven to 14 I lived in Sudan. I came back just in time for high school which is when my parents’ saying was amplified by 100. I was immediately put into Advanced Placement and Pre-Advanced Placement courses and was forced to excel, not taught to. 

The week before school started I went into my counselor’s office to solidify the classes I was taking, this is when I found out that volleyball was switched out for AP Physics. 

I didn’t say anything because I was afraid of disappointing my parents. My mom was just admitted to the hospital for cancer that she wouldn’t survive, so I kept my head down and tried to focus on the class. 

Except I couldn’t. It didn’t matter how long I studied or how much time I went to tutoring, it didn’t work. I was so focused on performing well in that class and figuring out how America runs. I was too overwhelmed with everything, too busy trying to make friends, learning how to do small talk, learning American customs that I forgot, all the while acclimating to my new environment and processing how I felt about my mother dying.  

I was so afraid of failing and making a mistake or two that I mentally barred myself from asking for help. Whether it be because I wasn’t used to the American education system or it was because I wasn’t ready for that class level, I knew for sure that it was because I was afraid to make a mistake. One that I inevitably made.  

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for parents to push their kids to success. Unfortunately, I think parents in the future will be a little pushy too when it comes to their students’ success. 

A small amount of encouragement is good, but too much won’t build character. Instead, it’ll break it and it’ll be a minute before it’s fixed again. Just like I could’ve asked for help when I so obviously needed it, more understanding could’ve done wonders for my GPA.  

I love my parents, and I’m so happy they decided to immigrate here, but understanding where I came from would’ve made my reality different.  

So, if you have younger siblings or know younger people that are approaching a new stage in their lives, maybe don’t fearmonger them. Because I have a good feeling had I been in regular physics the rest of my re-entry into American society would’ve been smoother. I would’ve been a killer volleyball player too.