Normally I don’t do two blogs in a row, but these lead off of one another, but are different enough that I thought it warranted a second post. Cool? cool. In discussing how our decisions as parents may not become obvious until much later on in life, it sparked an interesting thought in my head. There is always the ultimate variable, which is free will.
No matter how badly our parents screwed up when we were young, it is still ultimately up to us how we choose to be in adulthood. Let me give you an example. My brother and I were raised poor. Very poor. We’re talking Kenny from Southpark poor here. Very little food, tattered clothes, and if our town was big enough to have railroad tracks, we would have certainly been living on the wrong side of them. Our mother was uneducated and working at K-Mart, then later as a teller at a bank. To her credit, she did what she could to keep us fed, and sheltered, and obviously we survived. That being said, looking back it certainly wasn’t a fairy tale upbringing. In addition to these meager beginnings, our mother was also insane. She was the original Psychopath you could say, but I suppose she had her father before her, and her grandmother before that. Yes, yes, I may have to title the blog “A Psycopath’s Guide” since I was not the original. That being said the chain ended with my brother and I.
Granted we have both turned out crazy in our own right, but in more of a comical way than a dangerous way. What we did manage to change though was generations of poverty, ignorance, and broken homes. In fact as many generations back as any has been able to document in our family line, the children have grown up without one of their parents around, if not both (in the case of my grandfather). My brother and I both committed to never letting this happen. We would be there for our children, we would raise them as best as we possibly could, and we would also provide for them a better life than what we were given. We both set out to find careers, have children, get married, etc. We succeeded…or at least we have thus far. Despite having come from what can only be described as a fucked up childhood, we both made the decision to not let it rule our adult lives. We could either be defined by our childhood, or we could overcome it, so we chose the latter.
Unfortunately many don’t. Many let their childhood experiences rule their lives, and affect them in a negative way. They dwell on past experiences rather than focusing on the present and making the most of that. The point of this is to say that regardless of how good, or bad, you raise your children, they still may turn out unexpectedly in the end. I’ve known many a good catholic boy, who were raised in the strictest of households, but turned out to be absolute hellraisers. Similarly everyone was convinced that I would turn out to be a complete loser. I showed no signs of ever growing up and truly breaking out of the mold that had been cast for me. But with the chance meeting of a girl, I did just that, and left all of that baggage behind. You never know. That’s the excitement, and ulcer inducing anxiety of parenting.