Your Parents Don’t Know Everything11.17.09
I get frustrated when people, clearly distressed, defend their decisions and actions based on the old adage, “It’s how I was raised!”
To which I like to respond with: “So what!?”
I’m far less interested in how someone was raised because all that tells me is what someone’s parents believe; I’m interested in what the person himself believes. (I’m basing this on the notion that most people are raised by their parent(s), but I am using this term loosely to include grandparents, guardians, etc. who happen to raise children, as well.)
Our parents are our very first teachers, so their lessons tend to take hold rather well and stick with us throughout our lives more than many others. But, like any other lesson, its worth is yours for the interpretation, to digest through the prism of your own personality and intellect. And, most likely, you won’t come to the exact conclusions about life as your parents. Perhaps very similar, perhaps very different. Regardless, it’s okay.
Because you aren’t your parents.
Sure, you’re made up of their DNA, but you are now an adult (I’m not speaking about kids or teenagers here) and therefore free to your own ideas, thoughts, and viewpoints. Actually, you’ve always been free to have those but now you really can realize them since you are your own, independent person. So, go with your gut and follow your own ideas and viewpoints. If not now, when?
The biggest problem with putting those lessons from your childhood on a pedestal is that you’re automatically assuming that they are superior than your own notions about life. I’m not talking about lessons like “eat your vegetables” either, rather thoughts on politics, religion, and life in general. Sometimes, probably more than we care to admit, our parents got it wrong. They were bound to; they’re human. And it’s not even a matter of right or wrong on some cosmic level, but merely that what’s right for them might not be right for you. And when it comes down to it, that’s all that really matters at this point in our lives. If you’re having trouble reconciling your life and your feelings with what you were taught as a kid, chances are there’s not much to really wrestle. Go with your own feelings. There’s just nothing to gain from doing things their way other than pleasing them. And since they aren’t the ones living your life, that will only appease your unhappiness for so long.
I know it’s not all as cut and dried as I make it out to be. Going against the grain of what your parents have taught you – or, worse yet, what they are still driving into your head to this very day – is no simple task. It’s not something that you just change overnight. It’s not something that you can do without struggle, pain, and difficulty. But, at the end of it all, you’ll be living the life the way that YOU want to. It’s okay to not agree with how your parents think you should live because their time of parenting is over. They don’t have to agree with all of your decisions. And you don’t need their approval for everything that you do. I highly doubt they listen to their parents anymore, and haven’t for quite some time.
I respect parents for the jobs they do. I mean no disrespect for their viewpoints on life or the lessons they teach their kids. Many do the best they can and only mean well for their children, even when they’re being tough on them. But, these children grow up to be free-thinking adults, like it or not, and they might not go about their business the way you did or the way you would. It doesn’t make them wrong. It just means they’re different. And different isn’t always bad.
“It’s how I was raised!”
“So what!? You’re grown now. What is it that YOU believe?”
Maybe that’s why it’s in our nature to just fall back on what our parents told us. Sometimes we don’t have the answers to our own questions. The reality is, neither do our parents. Or anyone else for that matter. And you won’t know unless you just find out for yourself.