Friday 26 December 2014

Thought Picnic: What parents rarely learn

Home calling
It was one of those innocuous Christmas moments when we remember to call home and chat to our parents, and this I witnessed.
He had called to chat to the matriarch who happened to be with his brother for Christmas as the conversation developed she was informed that she would definitely know me as his brother quipped that I was one of those friends of his brother that she had chased away from their home almost 30 years before.
I did not get her response, but it appeared contrite in some way, yet quite interesting to me because it revealed two very particular points about parents, children, relationships and friendships.
Give the kids some credit
The first being, children are more perceptive than we give them credit for, besides the fact that they have memories of events and experiences we never realise they have perceptively and cognitively retained.
The idea that parents think they can shield a child from tension, attitude, behaviour, event, crisis, success, circumstance, grief or any perceptible human experience where the child has all faculties is silly, children are not stupid, even if they have no voice, decision-making or participation in that setting.
Memory is memory
Yet, in shielding children from some of the essential parts of life in their development, the result can be scarring as it can be emotionally damaging. There are events I witnessed in my home as far back as the age of 3 that I have had playback in my consciousness like I am watching a film, it is like total recall.
This is what my friend’s brother had hidden in the recesses of his memory almost 30 years ago, a single event he witnessed that came out of the annals of his memory bank because conversation and opportunity met, facilitated the need for that information to be shared of what he saw then.
If you do not want your children to recall events you’ll rather not be reminded of, moderate your temperament or extricate them completely from that environment, the former is easier than the latter.
Too good, she said
Secondly, it is the matter of friends and I have had a few in my younger days that my mother had in a very English phrase had said were too good for her liking. I will agree that she was perceptive enough to see through some of those friends.
It so happens that I have come to understand why those people were probably not the best people to develop lasting relationships with.
Beyond their views
Then again, there are other friends our parents frowned upon then who have through time have remained friends and developed into closer productive rewarding relationships beyond the preconceptions and prejudices of our parents.
Generally, I am persuaded that despite whatever influences, adverse or helpful, we will cultivate friendships based on our own terms eventually and everyone else including our parents and other influential people will just have to accept that.

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