Today’s National Blog Posting Month prompt asks if I wanted to have the same job as my parents when I grew up. More important to me was whether I wanted to BE like my parents when I grew up. My parents were both gifted. They had a strong work ethic. Neither of them had any higher education but both regretted it. It was always understood that I would go to college. To top it off, they both considered teaching a marvelous career choice.
On the other hand (and you could tell there was another hand, right?), they were miserable parents and spouses, to put it mildly. To answer my unspoken question, my primary object in life was to be as different from them as possible. Despite this stated goal, I became an efficient and earnest liar to avoid the consequences of any mistake. We had no politically correct conversations in my family about learning from mistakes. I learned to look my father in the eyes and steadfastly deny any culpability for anything, ever. At times that must have been humorous. I’m standing next to a smashed figurine and saying that it just fell all by itself. I saw it happen. It was miraculous, actually.
My parents used to say that there was nothing worse than telling a lie. They were wrong. It was worse to create an environment where you had to be an accomplished liar to survive. Lying is a skill I’ve had to unlearn as an adult. Now I have to ask myself whether I allow kids to make social and behavioral mistakes or if I make everything a capital offense. Do I allow children the space to turn around or are they forced into a corner? Is it safe to tell the truth? It’s certainly OK by me when things get broken. I’ve seen the miraculous enough times to know.