Saturday, June 1, 2013

DISRESPECTING YOUR PARENTS: CHALLENGE DAY 19


I'm not really sure exactly what today's challenge is asking for, but I'll share a few of the thoughts that come to mind. It's so easy to talk about respecting your parents when you've got the gift of hindsight. Being thrust into the big, wide, adult world and all the things you have to face can be really tough. Then you become a parent and you don't just have that to wrestle with, you have kids who depend on you. You're wrestling for them too, and that is one hell of a job. It's not until you're a parent or until you've got the maturity to be able to empathise, that you can understand what a parent feels. They hold you in their arms for the first time and one of the things they always say is that they'll love and protect you until the day they die.
When I was growing up, I had that mum who had to meet your parents before she let me go to your house. If you were a total stranger from some boy's school and your parents were brave enough to let you host an open party for a anyone who wanted to turn up, you'll bet my mum would have made me find out your home number. And if you were enough of a stranger that I wouldn't have had a way to get said number, she'd have walked straight through that party to meet your folks and suss out the scene before I was getting out of that car. One time I was in a taxi on my way to a party my mum had given the go-ahead on. But when my dad came home from work and found out where we were going, had expressed his concerns to mum who called the cab company, who paged the driver, who turned the car around and brought us home. We found out later he'd stitched up a few girls our age who'd been attacked by other girls at parties just like that one.
I used to resent that, was so embarrassed, but now I just want to hug my parents and thank them a million times over for protecting me. They've been every single age I've been, they know the world. They did what they thought they had to do and it's their intentions that I respect more than I can put into words.
I cringe when I think of one occasion I really disrespected my dad. I was in my teens and was going through an eating disorder. It was my birthday and my dad had put $500.00 in a card for me and gone out and brought me home some lunch. I came into the kitchen wearing shorts and he had gasped and literally almost started crying when he got sight of my bony legs. Now, if you've ever been in the grips of an addiction or obsession, you want to be left alone. Just you and your problem in your own little world. I got so defensive and screamed at him, swore at him, like it was him who had a problem, not me. My dad did nothing, he just looked broken. But my mum did what needed to be done. She slapped me square across the face. Before I even thought of complaining once again, she looked me straight in the eye and said "that man would DIE for you, and that is how you speak to him?"
She was so right. I needed to be told that and I never forgot it.
I can't judge people who grow up and realise their parents just aren't the kind of people they want in their lives. I don't know what it would be like to watch my own parents behave terribly, treat people wrongly, treat me in a way that wasn't loving and so forth. But I imagine it might be hard to have respect for them if that was who they were.
I have been fortunate to have grown up and seen just how incredible my parents are, not just as my parents but as human beings. Even if there's things I'll do differently as a parent, I know their actions were only motivated by a desire to protect us and ensure we were happy.
I think if there's a lack of understanding between parents and children, it should be addressed. Sometimes "because I told you so" sounds like "because I want to punish you". It goes without saying that kids should try and understand where their parents are coming from, but sometimes it needs to be spelt out to them before they can start respecting them.

3 comments:

  1. Sounds exactly like my parents! Hated their parenting methods growing up but now that I'm out of the house I realise how much they have shaped me into a respectful person. I guess it's just part of growing up. Love your blog!

    Lauren

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    1. Hi Lauren!
      Thanks for checking in. Yeah, definitely all part of growing up. I think parents must have looked forward to the day when the penny drops for their kids and they finally understand!

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  2. Hi Anna
    Dad and I got such a surprise to read your blog, it was gorgeous and we are so fortunate that you are our wee daughter, bright, beautiful, caring, so many things we could say about you. That slap across your face probably hurt me as much as it did you. Did have a few cringe moments reading it..lol . Enjoyed reading the blog, a blast from the past. Love you, Mum

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