I’ve been fortunate enough to know one of my great-grandparents, all my grandparents and both my parents.
Next, I parented my own three sons, and now I have four grandchildren to witness growing up.
I’ve lived long enough to intimately observe five family generations already!
I’ve also had enough conversations with older adults that I realize too many are living with regrets about their own parenting. How sad that is!
Mitch Albom wrote in his book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven:
“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
I recently read about a 62-year-old author who talked about his adversarial relationship with his father. He said his father was rough on him, verbally abusive, and told him he was nothing, that he never would be more than nothing.
Still, this man admitted he wouldn’t have wanted another father.
Because his determination to prove his father wrong helped him find his true contributions to this world. And indeed, this man was successful as a writer!
When I read that article, I realized I have that same type of determined (or stubborn) spirit. My dad was tough, but my mom was gentle. Yet, if I had only been coddled, I would certainly be a different person.
And actually, I kinda like who I am now.
I do believe that good eventually arises out of negative events, but sometimes we just have to take the time to honestly consider the positive.
Do you think it’s true that “all parents damage their children?”
Have you made peace with your own parents’ damage?
Are you harboring guilt about your own parenting? Do you think you could have a conversation with your adult children about this and make amends before any more time goes by?