Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Good Old Mom and Dad and Us

Even if Mom and Dad were shitty parents--the 20th Century Great Excuse for a self-limited life--get over it. You still have the need and obligation to get your life together and become a decent human being.

In all probability, Mom and Dad were probably not that bad in the first place; it's just that we too often remember only their mistakes. Shakespeare said, "The evil that men do live after them; the good is oft interred with the bones." So it probably is with our memories of our parents. (2) On top of which, even if our memories were precise (they were horrible and they did screw up our childhoods), remember most of them were in their twenties when they gave birth to you. How bright were you at their age?; (3) Almost all their mistakes were most likely unintentional. They didn't start every day thinking: 'How can I fail my kids today?'; (4) Have you done any better now (or, will your kids only remember your mistakes and not your successes. "What goes round, comes round." (5) And finally, no matter how disappointing they may have been as parents, we were probably as disappointing to them as children: do you think we are what they had in mind when they gave us birth?

Family disappointments and expectations are a two-way street. Maybe if we forgive our parents for not living up to our expectations as parents, perhaps they'll forgive us for being less than ideal as progeny.


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