Tag Archives: school

The Value of Regret

Regret has a bad name these days.

Sometimes it feels like you can’t go five minutes without seeing a motivational meme decrying regret as the greatest of all possible mistakes.

Live with no regrets!

Never regret your past, it made you who you are in the present!

Never regret anything because at one time it was exactly what you wanted!

Somehow, we’ve got the idea that regret is a bad thing. There’s a strange idea out there that a regret is something you would change, if given the chance. That by regretting something, you’re admitting that you wish you (and your life) were different.

But, hang on. Is that what regret is really about? Let me grab my handy Macquarie Dictionary and have a look.

Regret: -gretted, -gretting.

  1. to feel sorry about (anything disappointing, unpleasant, etc.)
  2. to think of with a sense of loss; to regret one’s vanished youth
  3. a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc.
  4. the feeling of being sorry for some fault, act, omission, etc. of one’s own.
  5. (plural) feelings of sorrow over what is lost, gone, done, etc.
  6. a polite and formal expression of regretful feelings

In that defiintion, there is absolutely no indication that regret is based on the desire to change your past actions. Rather, regret is a feeling associated with sadness, sorrow, disappointment, and loss. It’s a feeling engendered by taking responsibility for doing or saying something about which you later feel sorry.

Saying that you want to live life with no regrets is like saying you never want to feel sorry for anything; that you’ll never look back on a situation with a sense of loss or disappointment.

We all have regrets. Some are big and some are small. Some are things we wish we could change. Some are things we wouldn’t change for the world — although we feel sorry for the effect they had on other people. Having regrets is normal. Having regrets is good.

Do you know the value of regret?

Regret teaches us what not to do. If we didn’t feel regret — if we never felt sorry for our actions — then we’d keep doing the same things, and making the same mistakes, over and over again.

Regrets teach us how to be the person we want to be.

break by Anonymous -

When I was ten years old, I had a fling with a boy named Stephen. It was pretty hardcore.

  • On Wednesday, I told my friends to ask his friends to ask him if he wanted to go out with me.
  • On Thursday, he told his friends to tell my friends to tell me that the answer was yes.
  • On Friday, we smiled at each other across the classroom.
  • On Saturday and Sunday I doodled our names together inside love hearts, and practiced signing my name with his surname.
  • On Monday, we sat across from each other at lunch and avoided making eye contact.
  • On Tuesday, he told me I was dumped.

Like I said, hardcore.

A week later, I found out Stephen was seeing one of my friends. They were spotted holding hands after school. I was furious. Clearly, he needed to be taught a lesson.

Twice a year, the school held a variety concert. Anyone could nominate themselves and their friends to do a performance in front of the school. And every concert, Stephen sang Summer Holiday to public acclaim. It was very much his song. He was famous for it. (Within the school, anyway.) So, I decided, that should be the means to get public revenge on him for breaking my ten-year-old heart.

I signed up to sing in the concert as well. But not just any song. Oh, no. I signed up to sing Summer Holiday. First. Ha! That would teach him!

It didn’t take me long to regret that decision. In fact, I regretted it the moment I walked on stage, in front of hundreds of students, teachers and parents, and realised one important thing.

I didn’t know the words.

break by Anonymous -

Would I go back and change what I did? Maybe. Or maybe not. Because I learned a couple of valuable things from that experience.

  1. Revenge is a fool’s game, much more likely to make an idiot out of me than you. Don’t do it.
  2. At the very least, don’t try to get revenge on by competing with someone in the arena where they’re strongest!

That’s a true story. Although it’s clearly not the biggest regret of my life, it illustrates my point: Don’t be afraid of regret.

Regret is not a bad thing. Sure, dwelling on your regrets will get you nowhere. But neither will dwelling on your successes. So stop dwelling and start living. Accept your regrets, embrace them, and learn from them. Just don’t expect them to disappear.

And now I’ll leave you with a quote from Katherine Hepburn:

I have many regrets, and I’m sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret… if you have any sense, and if you don’t regret them, maybe you’re stupid.

How do you feel about regret? Do you have a funny regret you’d like to share?


Filed under Opinion

The First Day of School: Were There Tears?

I’ve been absent for the last few days. Between a couple of big family events and house guests sleeping in my spare room/office (thus making my computer a no-go zone), I’ve had a bit of a holiday from the internet. My usual ‘Monday’s Top 5’ will be out in the next day or so (better late than never), but first I would like to fill you in on what’s been going on around here.

Plus, I’ve got 176 new blog posts to read before I can work out a Top 5.

More coffee may be required.

The first of the big family events that occurred last week was Big Brother’s first day of school.

No, it’s not “real school” in that it’s not Grade 1. It was his first day of pre-prep. (Which, for those of you who don’t live in Queensland is comparable to kindergarten. It’s part-time prep. He goes to school 4 hours a day, 5 days a fortnight.) But since the preschool is part of the same school that he’ll be attending for both prep and grades 1 to 12, it’s school. I drop him off, leave him in the care of his teachers, and pick him up later. He’s in a class with the same children he’ll be with for the next 14 years, until he graduates high school. It’s school.

My first baby has started school.

There are certain questions that everyone asks when your child starts school: Were there tears? Did he cry? Did you cry?

So here’s the short answer: Yes, there were tears.

Now on to the long answer.

Big Brother has been excited about starting school for the last year and a half. We went to an open day at the school back in July of 2010, and we all fell in love with the place. Barely a week has gone by that Big Brother hasn’t pleaded with me to let him go to school. We’ve talked about it ad nauseam, gone back to another open day (just because we enjoyed the first one so much), been to the pre-acceptance interview, and counted down days until school starts.

It’s funny how preparing your own children for something makes you remember your own experiences. I remember being four years old and heading off to school for my first time. I was excited. Not just because I’d meet lots of new people, or I’d get to feel like a Big Girl, but because I desperately wanted to read. I wanted to read more than anything else I’d ever wanted in my short life. I’d already decided that I would be an author when I grew up, and learning to read was the first step. Mum told me time and time again, “You’ll learn to read when you go to school.” I needed to go to school.

I remember my excitement that first day. And I remember the tears — the flood that came, not in the morning, but in the afternoon when Mum picked me up from school. I sobbed and blubbered, “But I still don’t know how to read!”

Apparently I needed to go more than once.

With that in mind, I’ve been careful not to promise Big Brother too much when it comes to school. We talked about what his days would be like, rather than what he’d learn. And he seemed prepared. He knew that school was more than one day, for a start. And we waited — eagerly — for the first day of school.

On Friday, the great day arrived. Big Brother leapt out of bed with more excitement than he showed on Christmas morning. He got himself dressed without being asked, prompted me that it was breakfast time without a single complaint, and then told me that I had to hurry up and brush his teeth so he could go to school.

For my part, I spent the morning moving as slowly as I could. If Big Brother had his way, we would have arrived at the school an hour early.

When the time came, we loaded the family into the car. My husband had the day off, so we were all going to be there to wish Big Brother a good first day. We drove the half hour to the school without music playing — the excited chatter from the back seat was all the accompaniment we needed. We parked the car and I was dragged through the carpark, past the Class 1 – 3 rooms, and into the preschool area by a small, blonde-headed ball of enthusiasm. It was time for school!

Big Brother said goodbye to Daddy and Baby, and then we went into the classroom. His shoes came off, and were neatly stored on the shoe racks. We put on his indoor shoes (rubber-soled slippers for indoor play), and went inside to where the teacher was explaining that the children should sit around the edges of a large, circular rug to prepare for the morning welcome. I left Big Brother to follow those direction (actually he abandoned me at the door, but let’s not quibble about details) and went to speak to the Teacher’s Aide.

After a quick conversation the Aide said, “You’re welcome to stay for a little bit if you’d like.”

I looked over at Big Brother. He had, indeed, made his way to the rug. But instead of sitting around the edge like the other six or seven children already there, he had plonked himself right in the middle of the circle.

“I like your indoor shoes,” he said to the other children. “I’ve got new indoor shoes. Mine have butterflies on them. What do yours have on them?” When he didn’t get an immediate answer, he pointed at one of the boys. “You.”

The boy hesitated a moment and then said, “Frogs.”

“Wow. I like frogs,” said Big Brother. Then he pointed to another girl. “You.”

I watched as Big Brother went from child to child, engaging each of them in conversation about their shoes. Then I turned back to the Teacher’s Aide. “I think he’ll be fine.”

There were certainly no tears from Big Brother that morning.

I left and felt the familiar tug of heartstrings, knowing that I was leaving my beautiful boy behind. But I didn’t cry. I love the school, I have complete confidence in his teachers, and I know that Big Brother is perfectly capable of speaking up if there’s something he needs. So that pull on my heart didn’t make me sad — it just reaffirmed that, however far apart we are, there is always a connection between me and my darling boy.

Even my husband didn’t cry, which was something of a surprise. (He’s a big softie, and much more prone to tears at the idea of our little boys growing up than I am.) We went out for morning tea, did a bit of shopping, and accidentally enjoyed ourselves.

So when did the tears come, you ask?

I was  waiting for Big Brother when school finished. He came wandering out of the classroom calling, “Mummy?”

“Over here, Darling,” I called, waving and smiling.

And he burst into tears. “Nooooooo,” he sobbed. “I don’t want to go home yet. I want to stay at school! Please can I stay at school?”

It took almost ten minutes to calm him down and explain that he could come back next week.

He really does take after his Mum.







Filed under Life With Kids