Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Parental Guidance Suggested

I've been preparing a few posts that have been in the works for a while, tending to break away from my typical topics from this forum, instead allowing me to express some thoughts on topics that are a little more serious and reflective. I'd really appreciate any feedback you have on these posts, which I will label with Reflection so that they can be easily grouped together.
I have been doing a lot of thinking in the last few months, as I am transitioning from my teenage years into a university student, and recently into what I'll call a real person. As this transition has happened, I have also moved several times, and with those relocations I have also enjoyed more and more independence.
From when I was born until 18 years old, I lived at home (as is true of most anyone reading this I'm sure). I didn't particularly like this fact, but I understood from a very young age that it was certainly in my best interest to follow the rules and align myself to be able to move out for university. I certainly didn't and don't detest my parents or their home, but I knew that my parents did some things quite differently from the way I would do them, and from the way I think they should be done. To their credit, I did learn a lot from my parents, and I think I was raised very well, their values and morals passing on to me in due course. However, I also found that there were certain things I learned from my parents and then altered to suit my own needs and ideas. I think that this is probably the most important part of growing up, coming to the realization that while parents are a great source of information and advice, their opinions and assistance is greatly biased, and should be taken as suggestion rather than as infallible fact. The idea that our parents are the final word on anything in life is a very antiquated notion.

I don't mean to say that the respect of my parents doesn't mean anything to me, it's actually quite important to me that I have their respect and that they respect me and the decisions that I make. This is most important when my decisions are different than the ones I know my parents would make. If I can explain my reasoning to them, it actually reinforces for me that I have made the right decision, even if it isn't a decision they would make. There are also definitely paths I have taken in life, especially since I moved away from home, that I haven't shared with my parents. It's not that I am keeping anything from them, but there is nothing I would share with my friends that I wouldn't also share with my parents. Some people find this type of openness very odd, but I stand firmly behind the decisions I've made. For me, getting the approval of my parents does not stem from following their expectations to the letter, but from their acceptance of my lifestyle choices regardless of what they would do in the same scenario. I love both of my parents very much, and I know they also love me, even though we are across the country from each other for 95% of the year. If I thought for a second that anything I did repeatedly and intentionally would cause them to disapprove strongly enough that they would love me any less than they do, I would be strongly questioning their roles as mentors and guides (aka as parents). I have complete confidence that my parents would stand by me unquestioningly in anything I choose to undertake, so long as it is not illegal. Moral reprehension is another story which is more of a grey area, as some people have different views on morals, but having different moral standards than your parents is a good thing, and certainly should not be punished or cause for irrevocable disapproval.

Thank you, mom and dad, for showing me right from wrong and teaching me to make my own decisions. I have grown into my own man, and I want nothing more than to make you proud with the way I live my life.