Saturday 23 February 2019

On parental interference and sundry matters

Dealing with parents
I could imagine that many people after reading this would probably nod their heads in agreement on the issue of parental interference. I love my parents and when things are generally fine, which means knowing their boundaries and not interfering with my life, we have quite interesting and lovely conversations.
There are however areas of concern that I would hope that parents around the world gain some maturity on. I called my brother yesterday quite upset about a comment my father posted on my activities on Facebook. He had said, “The earliest you make a good change in your lifestyle the better, it is not too late. All the best.” From my perspective, this was utterly uncalled for, and as I have written many years before and frequently as in the links below, there was a clear notice to all concerned that they accept my choices or lose to their voices in my affairs.
Children provoked to wrath
Parental advice is good at any time, the kind of advice that helps you, builds you, encourages you and gives you the confidence to face the world. There was a time when as a child parental advice was an order, your agency was within the ambit of the latitude granted by your guardians. When that child becomes an adult, the parent needs to begin to adapt to new realities, the advice should come in that context, readily when asked for and tactfully when completely unsolicited for then offered like a reprimand.
In my last long conversation with my mother, who I lovingly call Iya, she offered the scripture about children honouring their parents, for it is commandment given with a promise. We were engaged in some banter as I had reported an issue, I was annoyed about to her about my father. I retorted that further down, it does say the parents should not provoke their children unto wrath.
We all have responsibilities, parents do as much as children do. If you as the hubristic almighty parent think there are no limits to how you interact with your grown-up child who is living quite independently of you in literally every sphere of their lives, then you are on the way to provoking your child unto wrath, the result of which cannot be healthy for either party.
No such ambition
The other thing is, I am very proud of my parents’ achievements in their lives, coming from their backgrounds, their professional successes and how those gave us their children amazing opportunities in life. I am probably the greatest beneficiary of it. I would be the first to confess that at some time I was a difficult child, I had my issues, and for some time, I probably was not a great source of pride to them.
Then, in resolving my own issues, I grew out of just wanting to make anyone proud as an ambition, if anyone was to feel a sense of pride in my regard, it would be incidental, not as a goal of mine. There might be a disconnection between them knowing that fact and realising I am not in a hamster’s wheel of life, trying to please anyone. I probably should have written a memorandum to all concerned.
My parents do not have that much influence in my life, not for a long time of at least three decades. Maybe in their mind’s eye and so in that of many other parents, they still see a child, we are always going to be the children of our parents, but we all grow up and that child is no more a child, but an adult. Many parents are in for a rude shock because they sometimes must be jolted violently into that new reality.
I make the decisions now
My situation is made worse for the fact that my father as a patriarch still has fully grown adults around him who have failed to gain any independence for themselves and thereby unfortunately becloud his view of things and the ability to discriminate between people who still need to be ordered around and those who at the very least should command both his courtesy and his respect in his dealings with them.
We are presented with many teachable moments which may not be immediate learning experiences but have to be reinforced time and again. I would never be a model child because my experiences and worldview are completely different from those of my parents. I try to be a good respectful child, but there are limits to what I can do. Whatever they have to say or do, the final decision would always be mine and mine alone to take.
This is a rebuke
When I have had to push back, I have not minced my words, that is the quality of education and influences around me, whilst I am reverential and respectful, when lines are crossed, order must be restored. In response to his comment, I wrote. “I do not expect to be reading these kinds of messages from you, I am 53, if you can't accept my choices, I appreciate your situation, but please, respect me for who I am. Thank you.
Then, I blocked him on Facebook for the simple fact that, if he does not approve of my ‘lifestyle’ and that so-called lifestyle is published without reserve on Facebook, it is not helpful for him to be assaulted with it. I was only being kind.
I have however learnt that there are busybody informers on Facebook who have taken on the job of reporting my views and opinions on social media to my father from which he makes background inquiries to ascertain things without consulting me. The poor man is caught between societal encumbrances to be seen to act on the information he has received even after knowing there is little he can do than piss me off.
Well, I would hope those informants would get to read this and inform him that this is both a rebuke to him and them. Back off or this is just the beginning of some interesting storytelling. Thank you.

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