1. Your message to kids today that you wish you knew back then what you currently know now. Be specific.
I wish I had known how important it is to be open and vulnerable. Being real is so important, and so little is done to teach it.
2. How did you learn your lesson or what was your lesson? Did you get hurt, did you upset someone, did you get scared?
Life and God have taught me through divorce and as I’ve listened to thousands of stories from my therapy clients. My daughter was hurt to be sure and has repeated my pattern. (We usually do repeat our parents mistakes and patterns.) And that has hurt her children.
3. What you would have done differently back then if you could turn back time.
Try more things to see what you are good at (definitely not drugs). Stay away from drugs, especially weed, it robs you of ambition and caring.
4. Do you convey this message to children in your life today?
Absolutely! If you don’t have parents you can talk to find an adult you admire to mentor you. If you have terrible, out-of-control parents ask to go to therapy–especially if you’ve been abused. Don’t blame yourself for other people’s problems, but take every chance to know yourself, and if you are wrong admit it.
I am so grateful that my parents were responsible even though not very open or enlightened. And I am so very grateful that I started looking for a relationship with God early in life. That has made all the difference. I’m so glad I went to college instead of getting married.
– Arla Caraboolad, Marriage and Family Systems Therapist