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Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014

The passing of the generational torch

Posted Monday, March 22, 2010, at 1:50 PM

I often sit back and wonder if I was effective as a parent. I wonder if I have raised my family to be good, respectable young adults? Was I a good role model myself? And did I give them enough space to explore, yet tighten the reigns enough to draw them away from bad choices?

I was told on a regular basis as the four of them were growing up that in no way would they have the kind of bratty kids that I did, by the bratty kids themselves.

That remark usually followed a falling out between two or more of them. The sibling rivalry was prevalent, yet when someone outside of our family circle did one wrong, the other girls were right there to protect their beloved sister. Not that there were many knock down fights between them, but knowing women as we do, the piercing words that would come out of their mouths would crush the feelings of even the strongest male.

I did my best to teach my family to respect authority, to work hard, get along well with others (even if you don't like them) and to be honest with not only others but themselves.

No matter how much trouble they could get into, it is the lying about a situation that would bring more punishment than the initial crime. Honesty is the best policy and if one feels that a simple lie won't hurt; one lie leads to another and then a lie is told to cover up another one and, and it neber ends. The worry is, I tried to explain, that in the end, a person may not even know what the truth is any more, or in the end, do they even know who they really are?

We have seen the examples for that lesson lately in government and sports. Fame and fortune can't buy back honesty.

The question in all of this remains, did I instill some positive parenting attributes on to my children? Now that they are beginning to raise families, time will soon tell.

Did they retain anything that I had taught them throughout the years during their upbringing? And the most important question that I eagerly await an answer for, is, are they raising brats like I did?

If you talk to each one that has a child or two, on a trying day... according to them, yep. I hear how naughty they are and that they just don't know how they can be so bad. Often I giggle and just sit and listen. Many times they have asked, "How did you do it?"

How did I do it? I think that they just need to put their heads down and ram through the tough times. Before you know it they will be on their way to growing into the very image of their parents. And from what I have observed so far, they have started their travels down the road of giving direction and doing the parenting thing quite well. Everyone has their ups and downs and I know my downs sometimes stung, but shake it off and continue on.

No one is perfect. I'm fully aware that I have by no means been the perfect parent and my kids are not the model children.

This is reality, however, not "The Stepford Wives," and we do what we can. Maybe the script for "The Children of the Corn" would have described my brood more accuractely in certain instances. But one can only sit back and let nature take its course and pray that your children stay safe and yet let them enjoy being kids. Too much parenting can be nearly as damaging as not enough.

I feel pride seeing that mh children have become the kind of adults that I actually enjoy being with. Now that they are frown, I have earned the right to not only be their mother but also a friend. During the initial 18-21 years while trying to guide them, I have learned that no matter how much it hurts, one must stick to their guns and be a parent and not to try to be a best friend, because in the end, what lessons are learned strictly from a friend?

Amid my realizations, I must give thanks to my parents for showing me the right and wrong way to do things. They made mistakes, too, but the important thing is that we learn from them. I am not done learning, and one never stops being a parent completely. My mother and my husband's parents tell me how they still worry over their children, who now have children with children. And they are still needed. I find comfort in that, because I know that parenting is one job I would not look forward to retiring from.

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Outside Looking In
Trudy J. Schroeder
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Trudy is a former Advertising Representative for the Pilot Tribune, and also a contributing writer.
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