Thursday, April 7, 2005

This week's homework: Advice

For this week's homework, Scalzi asks:

Weekend Assignment #54: Tell us all a single piece of wisdom you've learned from personal life experience. It can be a small thing, it can be a big thing, a simple tip or trick or the most important thing you've ever learned from life. But whatever it is, you should be able to state it in one sentence. That way people will remember it easier.

Extra Credit: Tell us: Would you have listened to your own bit of advice as a teenager? Be honest, now.

OK, here's one:  "Your parents meant well."

Now, OK, yeah, there are some exceptions.  Believe me, I know.  I work in the legal system and I see cases involving some really messed up people who truly should not be allowed to procreate.  I'm not talking about them.

I'm talking about normal, non-deranged, non-criminal parents and the garden variety things their kids blame them for -- being too restrictive; being too permissive; being hypocritical; not keeping up with the times; punishing you when you didn't do it; and so forth.

And I remember one day, when I was with a bunch of other people complaining about the various and sundry ways our parents messed up our upbringings, and I suddenly had this epiphany that they meant well.  They were doing their best.  Nobody can be perfect all the time -- especially with an inexact science like child-rearing -- and they screwed up.  They were bound to.  But it doesn't mean they weren't always trying to get it right -- and were probably beating themselves up over it when they failed.

It's amazing how much easier it is to just let go of all that baggage when you just accept that there were never any bad intentions. 

Would I have listened to this as a teenager?  Probably not.  They were out to get me.  ;)


mutualaide said...

Thank you!  I mean well often and most of the time, do well, but there are those occasions.  I have been known to tell my oldest daughter, 'I'm sorry, but give me some slack here, I'm a first time parent.'  

onemoretina said...

    This is SO true.  I can look back and think of a million things I wish I did, or didn't do, but ...the main thing this is, I absolutely LOVE the heck out of my kids.  And they know it.  And so, we move forward !     Tina

monponsett said...

The key is to establish dominance in the parent/kid relationship. I was about 12 when I figured out that I was sharper than my parents, and our remaining time together was mostly me manipulating them to get things I want.


pegluh said...

Sometimes I look back and am amazed at how decently they did, given the raw materials they had to work with.  Which is, you know, completely their doing. :)