Currently, I am living half way across the globe from you are; however, I am in need of an advice. A couple years back I was attending a prestigious preparatory boarding school in the New England area, and as it turns out I made some bad choices that I was not able to fix. I did not think of the consequences before I chose to commit those mistakes and now I have to live with it. My parents thought it would be best for me to return home and continue my studies here. Eventhough I am doing a lot better now academically, I still feel like I don’t have my parent’s full trust. My dad really want me to transfer back to an American university after my freshman year here in Thailand, but my mom does not believe that she can send me abroad again because she’s afraid I would make the same mistake. I know that there are a lot of temptations when it comes to college life, but I just want both my parents to fully support me and believe that I can, once again, live on my own. How do I make them believe that I am a changed person, that I can resist the temptations before me? Thank you and I really do miss you Ms. K.
Todd in Thailand
Dear Todd in Thailand,
First let me say that I miss you too, and am so happy you reached out! In my recent conversations with you, I can see you’ve made quite the transformation, and I am optimistic your parents have also noticed this positive change! I can say, without any hesitation, we’re all so proud of the man you are and will be. Yes, you made some mistakes, but don’t we all? What’s most important is not to dwell on said mistakes, but to first recognize them and then rectify them. Ask yourself, what am I doing or what can I do to right my wrongs?
When you’ve broken someone’s trust or hurt them, what happens next is, unfortunately, beyond your control. You can’t help how someone reacts or responds to you or the situation. All you can do is do your best to be the person you know you ought to be and want to be. Don’t try to force anyone to believe you’re a changed man–show them. Let your actions speak louder than your words. And if you’ve done all you can, sit down with your parents, acknowledge your mistakes, and thoughtfully and respectfully explain to them why you’re no longer the troubled kid they used to worry about. Share with them how you’ve been living a straight and narrow life. Describe to them how your time in Thailand has made you more responsible and capable of living on your own–why and how you are ready now when you weren’t ready then.
One thing I must reiterate though, Todd, is how far you’ve come and the fact that we all make poor decisions at some (or even many) point(s) in our lives. We’ve all succumbed to temptation and failed (a little or a lot), but we don’t let those moments define us. We bounce back. We keep going. We make changes and we fix mistakes. You’ve started doing the work. Don’t get discouraged and, most importantly, don’t give up! I believe in you and so do they.