I think one of the most important things we can teach our children is accountability for their actions. It's a foundation lesson that so many other things are built on. Once we take accountability, we take responsibility and we learn to accept and to expect consequences.
Unfortunately, as a parent, it's a hard lesson to teach. We love our children so much and we want to save them from every bit of heartache so we use that as an excuse not to take a tough stance and we become enablers. I'm not saying you shouldn't protect your children, but dear gods! Please teach them to be accountable.
Children who don't learn this lesson become adults who don't understand the concept and are unable to apply it to their lives. The result is that they face a lifetime of broken relationships, failures and a lack of growth.
Granted, these things happen to us all. But an adult who has never learned accountability will blame everybody and everything else for their own failures. That's how you tell the difference. Sometimes things really aren't our fault. But they're not NEVER our fault.
You can't build a long term, satisfying relationship with an adult who hasn't learned this lesson. You'll spend your time building and they'll cheer you on sometimes but they won't get involved in the real work for any length of time. There'll always be something easier to do... something that takes less effort. And when you no longer have the energy to build, they'll tell you it's your fault that you can't do any more.
Their careers will dead end because when the time comes to put in extra effort to move further towards their goals and dreams, they won't really want to put themselves out. And, you guessed it, there'll be a bunch of reasons why they couldn't and a bunch of people who they blame.
Nobody said that being a parent would be easy. It's never really easy to do things well. It's hard to teach the tough lessons and see our children unhappy for a little while but it's better than committing them to a lifetime of unhappiness. It's so important to raise a generation of adults who will be better than our generation. So let's start with our own and hopefully they'll continue the tradition.