Do you remember the dreaded pop quiz in school? I would be so nervous that the test would have a question that I wouldn't remember the answer to. I had never thought about "life's lessons" being a test in this sense.
Whatever you think about the tests in school, it was based on what you had been learning in class. In life it is really the same thing. Even in the womb we are learning, and that learning really never stops. In real life it is kind of interesting. If we take a look at the lives of our friends and loved ones, I think that we can safely say, that a good deal of the test, can be spotted as approaching. We can tell when someone we know if painting themselves into a corner, and will have a lesson to learn to get themselves out of it. The thing is, that we rarely recognize it about ourselves. We can't see the forest through the trees in our own lives, so that both the test and its accompanying lesson is sprung seemingly out of nowhere.
When my own children were teenagers, I loved to use the chess board as an example of how we should approach decisions in our lives. We have all of these pieces that we can move, going forwards, backwards, sideways. Some moves can only be done square by square and others if the way is clear can travel from one end of the board to the other. As long as the moves are legal, we can make any move we want.
Here is where the thinking and lessons come in. Just because it is legal to make a move, meaning that we have the right to make that move, doesn't mean that we should. Each move impacts the entire board. Some moves will expose other players to lose their position on the board and be removed. If you play chess well, then you are thinking many moves ahead. You will see moves that will expose your other pieces to danger, and rethink that move to the best possible move that impacts the board in a way that allows you to win the game.
It is the same with the decisions that we make. If we are thinking several moves ahead, we will see the test that could happen with each move, chose not to have to "learn that lesson", and make a different move that brings us closer to what we are trying to accomplish without exposing us or those we care about to any negative lessons or impacts.
We are often so blind to what potential consequences of our decisions are, because we are not thinking far enough ahead. Another lesson I tried to impart to my children, was that you don't have to put your hand on the fire, to know it will burn. You can look at the lessons that others are learning, and chose a different path. You can learn the lesson, without the test or negative experience.
My daughters and I were having a discussion the other day about what makes some kids grow up and change the family dysfunction, and others repeat it in their adult lives. Say for example, that your family was very poor, the classic welfare family. What trait does the child that grows up and becomes financially successful have, over the other child that in turn lives in poverty?
I don't think that I have ever read anything that really identified what makes one child repeat the family dysfunction and another be totally opposite of it. I know that in my own family, I broke the dysfunction, and that it was through self discipline and hard work and a strong belief that I could do it. But is that all that it really is? Does it come down to a belief that you can, and so you just do it?