I had the thought: Don’t most parents try their best? Given their resources, awareness, education, and conditioning? Isn’t this the truth? Most parents do what they think is right. Or, if not, they do something similar to what their parents did, which again, seems right. In this regard, I have come to understand that perhaps no one is to blame. Blaming parents is something that I’ve done. I’ve also noticed I’m not the only one. So I wanted to share some thoughts on it.
Yes there are some things my parents did that I choose not to do with my children. I would for sure consider some of those things not to be best practices. I get to improve on their example. This is only natural. But who gave me the leg up to do so? As well, I live in a different place, a different time, with a different ideas, different social milleau, and different opportunities. And I for sure had different parents then they did. Even with the advantages that I have over them, I’m still not so confident that I have this parenting thing dialed. I know that some of the things that I have done, or still do, are not best practices.
Am I a better person than my Mother or Father? Was I born a superior being? I don’t think so. I know for many people there is pain and confusion that lingers from their childhood. I’m not trying to downplay that reality. And it’s not to say that we can’t continue to strive, to do better. Humans will always strive for improvement. But we have to have some perspective and understanding when looking to different times and/or places.
I simply wanted to point out the fact that most, if not all people, are good… including our parents. As a result, no grudges need to be held. Aside from not doing any good, blaming and holding on to resentment generally doesn’t do us any good. In addition, goodness is not maximized in this way. I’ve also heard that the amount of goodness attributed to holding grudges is negligible. I joke. But you get the idea.
Blaming leaves us stuck in a negative cycle. Although tempting, it does not serve us and doesn’t not contribute to our growth. It’s the difference between a fixed and growth mindset. It’s the difference between being stuck and moving on.
I’m not suggesting that you ignore difficult parts of your childhood. On the contrary, working through these difficult feelings, processing the hurt is what I would recommend. Because, believe it or not, it’s actually understanding and forgiveness that set us free. If people (or parents) do harm, I believe they do so from an unaware, hurt, or misguided place. Who else would harm another?
I feel lucky to be living in a time and a place where there seems to be more choice and empowerment around parenting. There is more acceptance around being different in general. I’m grateful for that. And I’m grateful for my parents; for the guidance, support and love that they did give me. If I’m the product of their parenting, they must have done somethings right. I am here after all. And I have love in my heart. So, thank you Mom and Dad (x2). My gratitude is yours.