“Those who don’t learn from  history are doomed to repeat it.”George Santanaya

“Mistakes are meant for learning, not repeating”Anonymous

Have you ever wondered why many of us repeat our parents’ mistakes? Most parents want a better life for their children, but a number of children don’t seem to live better than their parents because they fail to learn from history.

George Santanaya (1853-1962), a notable philosopher was often quoted as saying, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” 

Any child that wants to live better than their parents must be curious to find out why the generation before them succeeded at some things and the reason they recorded failure in some other things.

Ask Your Parents “Why?” and “How?”

This reminds me of the story of a young, curious, boy who grew up in a family that was plagued with abject poverty. He wondered why his parents always struggled to make ends meet. 

One day, the boy went to his mother and asked, “Mother, why are we poor?” His mother answered him, “We are poor not because of God; but because your father never had any ambition or drive to become rich.” 

Up until he asked that question, Henry J Kaiser had always thought his family was doomed by God to languish in penury forever. However, His mother’s response was what changed the course of history for the young Henry, who decided to challenge the status quo, and went on to become one of the richest men in American history. 

One Question Can Make All the Difference!

Just imagine that. A simple question made a young, curious boy learn from history and change his destiny. If he hadn’t asked, he, like million others, would have been doomed to repeat his parents’ hand-to-mouth lifestyle.

It’s an undeniable fact that history does repeat itself, and this is often the case when people fail to learn from the past.  The message in this article was inspired by a recent experience I had while I  took a walk around the environment I had lived in for many years. I saw history repeating itself! 

I saw young children, teenagers and youths of that environment replicating the mistakes of their parents. They seemed to me like the younger versions of their parents; living and playing out the lives and experiences of their parents without any hope of having a better life.

I saw girls too young to be mothers already rearing children like chickens; not raising or training them in the way they should go. I also saw young guys who have turned hooligans and touts; and just a handful of them seem to possess some skills and are struggling to make ends meet.

I was even being hailed by some of the young touts whom I knew so well in their childhood days while my family still lived in that environment. These young touts came hailing me, demanding that I give them money. And guess what they would do with the money – buy hard drugs!

THE Curious Me…

I couldn’t stop to wonder how and why those young  fellows with bright and promising destiny in those days have turned out to be worse than their parents. I began to ask myself a series of questions: Why did the parents look at these children to be a worse version of themselves.

Why did the parents allow these children to replicate their mistakes? Or don’t they want a better life for their children? What are these kids looking at? Can’t they see? Don’t they want a better life? My questions were endless!

You Can Live  A Better Life

The Need To Look Inwards

Many of us are just like the young folks in that community where I grew up! We are plagued by some kind of similar limitations our parents faced. We are supposed to learn from our parents’ errors and be better off; we don’t have to go through all they went through. 

Rather, we can learn from their mistakes and determine not to repeat the same. That way, we can become better by far. What’s more, we can achieve this by always looking inwards. By asking our parents some probing questions.

We should be tactical and intelligent in asking them these questions so we don’t sound rude to them, because some parents will not accept their failures anyways.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Most parents labour over their children, so that their children can be better than them, but still, in the process, they are limited because of their ignorance or lack of the wherewithal to achieve their dreams. 

However, wise children will avoid all these pitfalls by simply studying their parents’ limitations and weaknesses so they can find solutions to them and become better.

I believe children are supposed to be better versions of their parents, having better lives and achieving better results than their parents. 

A Case in Point

My mum is a very smart trader, even though she doesn’t have a formal education. I remember me and my siblings always telling her she would have made a great medical doctor if she had gone to school, because she likes things related to health and well-being.

Looking at how my mother would have been a lot better if she was educated was what inspired me to determine that I should be better off. I just made up my mind some years back that I will not repeat her history!

You Can Live A Better Life

Learn From Your Parents’ Weaknesses

Your parents may be civil servants, whose sole dependence is on their monthly salaries. You may have noticed how financially handicapped they can often be, especially if payment of their salaries is delayed.

However, nothing dooms you to repeat your parents’ lifestyle in this regard. You can decide to be better. 

You can decide to understudy successful  business people so you can tow a better path financially. What are those things you see in your parents that you wish were not so? or What would you like to change in your parents’ lifestyle for them to have a better life? 

Bring it on, take it upon yourself to be better. Make the decision to be and you will see yourself becoming better.

A Word to Parents 

To parents reading this: Help your children to become better than yourselves. Teach them to learn from your mistakes so that they will not repeat the same. The experiences you have are to make life better for your offspring.

Don’t demand that they go through the same struggles that you have gone through. Support and guide them to make the best choices that will in turn make their lives better. 

Don’t leave them to fate; don’t pressure them for money and the likes. If you don’t have answers to their probing questions, you can buy books for them or refer them to people with better experiences who can guide them right.

Take a cue from the story of the notable author, Robert Kiyosaki in his bestselling classic book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. His biological dad knew little about becoming an entrepreneur and becoming rich, in spite of the fact that he was a school principal.

However, he did a great job by referring his son to a rich entrepreneur where his son learnt a few things about the secret of building wealth, and the rest is history today. 

You too can do the same. You can live a better life than your parents and the generation before you if you choose to learn from history. This is the only way to avoid repeating bad history and replicating your parents’ mistakes. 

It’s Action Time

Now over to you my dear friend. This is action time. What have you learnt from this article? Please share with me in the comment below. 

Also, do you have any experience where children have replicated their parents’ mistakes. Don’t hesitate to share with me and our fans in the comment below. We are all learning together. 

Waiting to read your comments. I love you!