I am often invited to step into family generational transitions.
Inevitably, as I engage in those conversations, there’s some discontent. That discontent most often finds a voice in complaints about the mistakes of the prior generation.
Even as I think about my own family, it would be easy to rail against the sins of my own father. He drank too much, was angry too much, and did little to prepare our family for his early exit from this planet. My mom was left to care for a family of six with far too little assistance.
But even as I hear the complaints of these children about their parents, I try to remind them of one simple piece of wisdom:
Remember, it was their first time.
What do I mean? No matter how good or bad your role models are, you are never completely prepared to parent.
Yet there will likely come a time when you get to parent. And your parenting experience at every stage will be your first time: your first newborn, first toddler and then first teenager. Each of those experiences—ranging from simple discipline and simple instruction to more complex issues like navigating drugs, sex and financial wealth—will all be first-time conversations.
Some of those conversations will be awkward. Some will fail. And even with great coaches, it will still be your first time.
So perhaps we can give our parents a little grace as we consider our complaints about their failings.
Photo by iStockphoto.com
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Published January 31, 2022
Topics: Family Legacy