I love Modern Family. The fact that on Wednesday night, after 9:30pm, my Facebook status is in someway a nod to the previous half hour, is a testament to that. Last nights show in particular struck a chord, worthy of my status update, in regards to parents faking it.
This is one of those sacred truths, kept by an elite brethren until new members cross over the sacred threshold. At which point, generally, they are so overwhelmed with trial by fire that it is wholly possible to miss this truth all-together. The result… weeks, months, possibly years of stress derived from believing there is one right way to raise your child, and any deviation from that path will undoubtedly result in a derelict to society, the albatross around your neck, or worse.
We’ve all crossed paths once or twice with a parent that unfortunately missed this sacred truth. In the grocery store, when the woman behind you looks at your toddler with a paci, and NEEDS to tell you the long term ramifications that action alone will plague your child with. The woman on the playground that almost falls off the bench watching you spank your child as punishment for pushing another child over, then proceeds to lecture you on the effects to their self-esteem. Or maybe the situation was reversed and she watches you ‘reason’ with your 2 year old about the poor choice to push another child over, and waits to lament that parenting style as the breading ground for irresponsible adults. Whatever the case may be, they are out there. Waiting to pounce. Armed with the ONE SINGLE way to raise a well acclimated, respectful, intelligent adult, and certain that you will shower them with adoration and praise after the fact, for enlightening you on the error of your ways.
Knowing this secret can also go a LONG… LONG… (did I mention LONG) way in finally burying any bitterness carried since childhood toward your parents for ‘screwing it up’. They didn’t know… They did the best that could with what they got (true, not all do, but maybe THEY missed the sacred truth early on, and carried SO much bitterness from their parents it made it virtually impossible for them to care for anybody else but themselves… I’m just saying, its hard to know Everyone’s back story). This statement was made a little more clear sometime around last Thanksgiving, when my Dad and I were hashing some things out in a car one day, he said… “ya’ know what Jules, you didn’t get pregnant (out of wedlock), and you never ended up in jail.” At first I thought, for someone that liked to set “the bar high”, that statement kinda low balled it… but as I noodled on it some more it did make a certain kind of sense.
There are far… Far… FAR too many details in life to try and control everything in parenting… we’ve seen the outcome of parents that try… can someone say “Toddlers and Tiara’s”…. SCARY! Running around judging others strategies, is just as futile, focus on your own, in my experience they provide more than enough to handle. Set the long term goals early on, and for some it may come out as, “let’s keep ’em from getting knocked up, and outta jail”…. Ya’ know what, to do that, you’ve got to teach your kids about consequences early on, and sometimes that can be the hardest lesson to teach.
To my parents, I say thanks. Thanks for doing the best you could with what you got, in my opinion, in this day and age, ya’ll knocked one out of the park with us. My hope is I’m able to fake it long enough to make it, so my boys can someday look back and say the same!