I’m glad my parents failed me, because in their failure, they were actually succeeding. I grew up knowing my parents were human beings, like me. I learned that there are consequences for everyone; I learned humility, and that taking responsibility for one’s offenses was honorable. Imperfect people raising imperfect adults–that’s where’s it at. It makes sense if you think about it. We aren’t simply bringing up children; we are bringing them up into adulthood. And we want our adult children to be good, ethical people. How can they learn how to be good and ethical people–people equipped with critical thinking skills–without trial and error? How can they learn to be what we want them to be without showing them human frailty? We have to be open, and admit that yeah, Mom and Dad make mistakes, too, and this is how we move on positively. Parents should not be exempt from due apologies, and acknowledgment of poor decision making.
I know too many parents who are afraid of laying down the law–who are obscenely lenient; and those who are hell bent on upholding a charade of perfection. No family is without its troubles. Neither of these types of parents are teaching their children valuable lessons. In fact, they are only setting their sons and daughters up for disappointment.
Some background on me: I became pregnant before I graduated high school, so some people reading this opinionated post may roll their eyes, because shit! What does an eighteen year old know about parenting? Fucking nothing, if I’m being truthful–and I am always truthful. I wasn’t raised on the fucking prairie with Laura Ingalls, or with my grandma, who knew what it was like to help raise children because my great-grandma had seven or twelve fucking kids. I was just a teenager who did well in school, but had sex with her boyfriend, and became pregnant; one who’d decided that no movable force was ever going to take her baby girl away from her.
So, Nicole’s dad and I did what we believed was best in bringing up our stellar adult. It was a tough experience at times, but a beautiful one, too. And as much as we taught her, she taught us how to be better human beings. In our imperfection, we are all perfect, because we are all real. Nicole knows what humility looks like, what reflection feels like, and what forgiveness tastes like. She knows the value of honesty, and kindness.
I dare anyone to spend time with my daughter, and then look me in the face and tell me I don’t do justice to the honor of motherhood. I dare anyone to tell me that my daughter is not one of the many great faces of an ideal future.
We shouldn’t look at our children as mere subordinates. We should look at them as the future, and raise them to be the future we want to one day see–a future better than our own. But we have to help them build that future.