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My dear Jack, yes, we all wish we were perfect, never made mistakes, never did stupid stuff…but life doesn’t give us access to the luxury emporia of a perfect past. Our lives are past imperfect, hence your present tense. We’ve all done very stupid – things we eternally regret, wish we’d never done. Sinfulness is man’s nativity.

But there are two mistakes people make with regard to their past: First, some try to justify their mistakes, to come up with rationalization, even invent excuses. Yet the excuse for doing something and reason for doing it are two different things. The real reason we do stupid stuff is because of our lusts, our wilfulness and opportunism. Without opportunity we’d never have done many of the stupid stuff we’ve done. Now, we may come up with an invented reason but that’s just an excuse, a backward integration of history.

The other mistake people make is, they keep beating themselves over the head for their mistakes. The smartest people acknowledge their mistake, repent of it and move on. They don’t keep flagellating themselves over those mistakes. They learn, and learn to move on. And if there are consequences like an offspring, they accept the reality and progress from there. You can’t wish a child away. The sex might have been a mistake but the child is now a reality.

You shouldn’t be editing the film reel of life on the premise of “if only something hadn’t happened.” “If only you didn’t kiss her…” “If only you didn’t go to her apartment…” “If only you’d never met her…” “If only…” These “if only” are of no practical value. Quit if-only-ing! The fact is, you kissed her, went to her apartment, had sex with her and she conceived. “If only” scenario analysis is a short step away from blaming someone else for your mistake. Of course the only logical person to blame is the woman you slept with, which doesn’t make sense. She didn’t force you! Even if you can blame her, what’s the practical value of that? You’ll only invite bitterness into your life. Your rage will have a biological punching bag no doubt. And you may even find justification “punching” her… But again I ask, what’s the practical value of that? How does it change anything? Accept the reality and move on. Mistakes have been made, mistakes need to be acknowledged, reality needs to be reconciled. It’s that simple.

And the earlier you make adjustment to the fact you have a child out of wedlock, the better for you. If you don’t adjust to this truth, you WILL end up having ANOTHER child out of wedlock. And that’s because you refuse to accept responsibility for the course of events that led to the pregnancy. When we do not acknowledge our mistakes, we’re fated to repeat the same mistakes. Life itself is a cycle of mistakes and repentances, though many mistakes are avoidable and unnecessary. You’ll never be perfect, but the mark of nobility is a willingness to keep working at perfecting yourself.

The Johnian principle of human imperfection is amply stated as follows: “If we claim we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense.” That’s the Peterson translation of that famous 2,000-year old text, by the way. What is done cannot be undone. The only editable history is the future. You may not have the opportunity to edit the past like a Hollywood producer, but you can write a script for the future.

Reconcile yourself to the fact that you and this woman have a child together. Make adjustment to your reality accordingly. Your budget heads for example must change. You have a child now. You’ve brought the future forward by a few years. Things you weren’t ready for you have to begin to undertake now. It’s one thing to be a mistaken boyfriend, but another thing to be a mistaken father. That’s a huger mistake. Yes, you don’t have to marry her, but there’s no point creating drama. You bought a package. Deal with it.

If the basis of the relationship had been with a view to marry, things might have been easier. But even in some of those cases, pregnancy out of wedlock can change a lot of things. That’s because the man feels trapped. Or because he’s actually trapped. The only basis of this relationship was sex and that’s the problem. The sex blinded you to what you should have seen. And because the sex happened so fast, the development of a proper relationship came in a distant second.

There are consequences to such scenarios as yours and that’s what you’re facing now. With the birth of this child your life will cease to be choirboy tidy. It already has. The natural order of progression has been inverted, plans torpedoed, wishes shattered. As long as that child exists, her mother will always be a reality in your life. I’m just saying all that anger, self recrimination and all what not are of no practical value. You’re a father now. You have to start thinking in practicals. You have to start putting aside money, saving for the child’s education. Whoever seeks to marry you has to come to terms you already have a baby. That’s the reality.

Of course you can go on to have a wonderful new relationship, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. When we’ve done stupid, acknowledged our mistake and reconciled ourselves to reality, the next thing we can and should do is to take comfort in those immortal words of Paul: “All things work together for good…” And all things will work together for your good. After you’ve made a mistake, find yourself.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |


Tags : Mistakes

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