My husband and I had the good fortune to be able to have our oldest Grandson stay with us for a few days, this last week, while his Dad was in Ohio on Business and his Mom was with his youngest Brother who was going through medical testing. It is my choice while he visits us, right or wrong, to spoil him rotten by letting him set his hours within reason,buying him the one thing that he wants,letting him eat what he wants, and play as much Wii as he likes. After all that is the luxury of being grandparents and he has terrific parents that understand my desire to do so. If he grows up and remembers a childhood at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house close to idea, it will be based on reality. He is kept safe while we all stress that it is a once a year special time and not a healthy or responsible way to live,on a daily basis. He understands when he leaves here that it is reality time again.
It is not until we are able to acknowledge and accept the truth that our parents made mistakes and we forgive them for those mistakes, by facing our childhood honestly, that we ourselves will find maturity. Because we did not have the stresses and problems of the adult world in our youth those who did not come out of total terror, tend to think that our childhood was less complicated and freer than what kids have today. Every generation initially goes through the idea that we will never be able to live up to what Mom or Dad accomplished.
While we dream of those carefree summer days of playing outdoors we forget the number of young girls and boys who were indeed molested by the neighbor,uncle,camp director or grandpa because Mom and Dad wanted us out of their hair. The laws effecting us as adults today were made as a result of those,” out of sight out of mind,” days where our parents lacked the knowledge or awareness to safeguard their children against predators.
The spankings that many got, because they deserved them according to another time in thinking, were rare occasions in some houses until we remember the times when our sibling or siblings accused us and we were punished for it when we did not do it. We then begin understanding the reason we were punished, unfairly, was because there was no one listening or watching, as kids were not promoted to be able to express themselves. Many were left to figure out their own problems without guidance. Mom was having that afternoon glass, or so, of wine, dad was out working everyone at the office to only come home and take a drag on the whiskey bottle or the Bud can, or their own problems were more important than any problem we ever had. We were told to keep it quiet about Uncle so and so or the family would be mad at them.
Every generation, while we are young and under stress, have a need to somehow impress on ourselves that life was a kinder gentler time at some point than what we are dealing with today. Kids embarrassed parents in grocery stores then as well as they do today. A sane parent did not spank them then either for fear of what they might look like. They may have once they got them out to the car but as a rule kids were told before they were taken into the store what would happen if they misbehaved.Parents who followed through on punishment, promised, did not have kids acting out because they were consistent with their punishment. When kids learned their bad behavior could get them what they wanted, they would behave poorly then as well.
Not all parents did discipline and instead gave in and bought the child what they wanted and that was the purpose of the fit, in the first place. Parents often left kids locked in the car during the hot months of summer and but for the grace of God somehow we survived. We now have laws against doing that because too many kids did die trapped in their car seats. Other parents often made the trips to the store without the child as they waited until Dad got home. Men and women were not sharing the chores then like they do today.Latch key kids were more common because many did not have day care or could afford it if they did.
Not all parents cooked, but you better believe if they did, we were not leaving the table until we did clean our plate even if we had to wash it down with milk or we gagged trying. Only those who were aware of the fact that force feeding leads to obesity in adult years would let the kids leave the table when they were not hungry. There were the bar-b-ques and the meals in the rural areas that were cooked on a daily basis, but most parents did the Deli, McDonalds,Pizza Hut, corn dogs and micro-waveable meals, but instead we tend to remember the holiday meals or the meals cooked when company came, and over look the times that parents were waiting for pay-day to restock necessities.
Oh yes, it is nice to be young and to think that life was better when we were kids and we were less spoiled and more grateful. Denial does a wonderful thing to our memories until we are forced into dealing with the reality as to why we are experiencing health problems,why we always seem to deal with stress with another glass of wine, why the Dr. is prescribing Prozac, and what is it that nags at our minds at night to the point that we need a sleeping pill in order to sleep,etc. etc. Maturity brings with it the healing necessary for all of us to confront our own lives and in doing so we need to take a more honest and realistic look at our childhood.
If it is not our own health problems that force us into it then many times it is the crowds our children are hanging with, because we are as tired of our own screaming as the kids are, or some other life altering experience like adultery or divorce that wakes us up so that in order to save both our own well-being or that of our child’s we must take a good and careful look at why we thought Mom and Dad were perfect and we could never measure up.
There are those who will remain in denial their entire life as they never do grow up. They protect their lies and take denial to the grave. They also never have any real understanding for the truth but base their lives around fantasy, the shopping malls, a drugged stupor, or in a drunken haze. Their relationships fail, as just as, they do not confront and face the truth of their own childhoods they never accept responsibility for their own mistakes either.
In a healthier home parents will acknowledge their mistakes through open conversation without accusation or passing the buck.The topic of conversation many times circle around the accomplishments and successes of the members of the family. The sincerity of the members of the family is real and not clouded by spiteful comments or jealously or envy. Families become concern as to why their sibling or parents become concern as to why their child is showing such health problems. They gather together to determine how they will be able to help out the member who needs their help. The sick and hurting certainly never do need to ask for their families help because family just show up, job or no job.Many times there are explanations as to how things happened the way they did, but they do not deny that it happened, blame the child, nor argue about it with excuses being prevalent.
In a dysfunctional home the hypochondriacs come out of the woodwork concern if they too are not going to be diagnosed with such a terrible disease until they reason that they take better care of themselves.The topic of conversation is ,often times, based around who has had to suffer the most hardships and those that have,win.Rarely, if ever, do they take into consideration what extent their own decisions or choices made in their hardships. Instead they get their high off of playing a victim, since that alone, many times in their minds, gives them a right towards entitlements. They have a thousand reasons why they cannot help out with those reasons all circulating around their own needs. Some will even try to upstage the sick or injured by claiming to have far worse health problems or blame the member who is ill for having done it to themselves.
Occasionally they will send a bouquet of flowers and congratulate themselves, thinking they are helping, when what the ill really need is to have their hand held or a babysitter for the kids. It will be the mature one, often the sick person themselves, that many times acknowledge the truth and are open and honest about it, because they do have the empathy to understand and the compassion to forgive, long before the other family members will get out of denial long enough to acknowledge the truth.
Many times people do through their own ignorance, innocence, or denial make poor decisions that can and do lead to their own illness or injury.There is a fake bravado in youth that tells most of us that the warnings do not apply to us. Bad things only happen to other people. Other times due to a weaken genetic make-up what should not normally lead to injury does in some people and not in others. The great majority of us, if not all of us, would never make those decisions again if we were fully aware of what the repercussions would be. The best that most of us can hope for is that our loved ones not repeat our mistake or make different decisions than we did. A compassionate family will not point out or refuse to visit a loved one, in the hospital, when they are suffering, even when their mistake does lead to their own illness or injury. There may be other justifiable reasons not to visit but when family members stay away because,”they did it to themselves” then there clearly are,many times, more psychological reasons involved, from what most of us are aware of.
I offer to all of us then, the hope on days that seem hopeless, the inspiration on days that we do not feel inspired,the reality that life does work out as long as we claim responsibility and get the help that both we need and the help our loved ones need. It is through the maturity and the strength of wisdom that we all can handle the truth as it does bring with it the appreciation that what ever life hands us, we will some how be able to muddle through it, and be grateful for another day, another tomorrow, and another year.
We all need to know the enjoyment of each day based on truth before we do reach that point that we do understand just how short life really is. After all, if we are lucky, we have so many more adult years than we have childhood years. When we truly do love one another we will choose to treat them the way we would want to be treated, and we will know the life we created is even better than the childhood we fantasized about, ever was. Almost always it means sacrifices on the part of all of us, but we will learn ourselves and teach our children how to take responsibility,be self-sufficient and kind to others. I wish us all a terrific weekend acknowledging each other’s value, always!