There are many things that shape us into the person we are today. The family, however, is the first and most important source of socialization that imparts knowledge, beliefs and values.
The title alludes to one element of our family. An element that is subjective and critical in determining how we turn out to be.
So what does the title mean?
- Every parent, biological, legal guardians or adoptive, treats their child in the way that they think is best for their well-being.
- Every parent imparts ways, knowledge, beliefs and values that may flourish or ruin their children.
My mother was the first from whom I learned the things that I liked, hated, dreaded, wanted to emulate and was against. She was the first tangible source of all the things that I want to be and did not want to be.
Her flaws were parallel by her compassion, unmatched sacrifice and commitment. She did her best with what she learned from her parents, the life she had before me, when I was born and the challenges that she faced raising me.
Twenty-eight years later, I look back on my life and I am puzzled with what ifs. I judge her shortcomings and I wonder if things would have been different. If I would have been different. If her efforts could have been more and if they were, if they would have yielded better results.
My intention is not to talk only about mothers or about my mother. My desire is to talk about parents in general. However, in my case a mother is all I had and as such I have to speak of my parenting experience through her.
In 2015, I sat in a classroom in Garden City, NY reading Philip Larkin’s poem “This Be the Verse.” If this poem has never crossed your path, you should probably google it. It best summarizes the subjectiveness of parenting. It speaks of all the unintentional good and bad of the actions of our parents. Larkin tells us how our parents best intentions of raising us may only have turned out into “the[m] fucking [us] up.”
At a tender age we may not understand. More importantly, we will not be able to notice all the psychological ways in which our parents’ actions have affected us. Some of us may have identified the negative consequences of our parents’ attempt to raise us only when we have become adults. On the other hand, some of us may never live to know that the way we are today is as a result of how we were raised and what we were exposed to.
Nevertheless, we all should be grateful for the life we have now. We should try to fix whatever that was ruined within us on our own. We have to move on from the past by acknowledging and making peace with the fact that our parents were raising us in the best way they knew how to. Blame not our parents. Remember that whatever they did or did not do, “they may not [have] mean[t] to.”