Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I don't have to like it, but there is a cycle of nature at work

Something I have become more attuned to, is that the way parents talk about their children and their expectations as a parent correlates to the age of the children they have. 

When parents make a comment about their children on social media, immediately the nature of their comment tells you the age of their children.  The more all-inclusive the language, the more blindly optimistic the statement, the younger the child is likely to be.  

A parent who posts comments like; "my child will never...." or "I won't allow my child to......" or “we have this unbreakable bond”  are ones with very young kids who have as yet no idea that the children become independent and quite self-willed at a certain age. 

Parents who post comments about "I can't believe my child said....."  or "Why is my child acting like this.....? or “what happened to my child?;  have experienced the changes that happen in their offspring as they mature.

It is clear to me that the parents of young children have no clue as to what they have yet to face.   And maybe that is a good thing. 

We all start out so very optimistic and hopeful that we will navigate the turbulent parenting years with great success, that we will do a better job than our own parents.  And then time passes and we realize that all those optimistic intentions, had a purpose, they kept us striving to do good, to do the right thing, to be the best possible parent we could be.
But in the end we come to realize the reality, that we really have no control. 

The dynamics of children becoming adults has its own force! The changes of transformation has it’s own flow and there are so many outside factors having a huge impact on the direction these changes take.   As time passes we, the parent, become sidelined as these emerging adults go with the flow of that force toward their own destiny.

They then create their own families, and have the same inspiration to be better and more successful parents in their turn.   Some of us are fortunate to still have a place at the show, others of us are relegated to reading the show reviews, and others of us don't even get to see the reviews. But either way the force of nature is there directing that eternal optimism in the next generation that they can do better. 

We who have adult children are sidelined to various degrees, our hopes have played out to various degrees of success.  We see our failings, and gradually we come to terms with what we were not able to achieve.  We suffer because our hopes and dreams and aspirations as new parents did not unfold the way we hoped and in our naivety, expected.  

As I ponder this I wonder if I can let go of the optimistic vision of expectations and come to a better place of peace and acceptance with the reality of the outcome? Not that the acceptance will be pain free, for the sadness and grief over the outcome won't change.  But possibly there will be a closure, a sense that doing the best and having the best outcome are not necessarily congruent. 

The cycle of life and raising family is now behind me.  For better or for worse they are now the “next generation”.  They have their own journey of discovery to follow.  And they need the optimism that they can do better to carry them down that turbulent river.   And I can look with hindsight at the past and reflect how much my own optimism helped me face challenges that would have been impossible with a negative mindset. 

Looking back I can see how much society has changed, available knowledge has changed, how information access has changed, and how all these factors create new vision and new expectations in the next generation.  I do not necessarily agree that the changes are indeed for the better, but I can accept that there have been changes. 

I remember how the latest books on parenting played an important role in my optimism as to how I could do better.  For my grown children it is no different, they have different sources of knowledge and because of the perversity of nature they believe that what they know is better than what I know, just as I believed that what I knew was better than what my parents knew.  And in turn their optimism bubble will also be burst when their children in turn become adults who themselves now know better.  

It is the cycle of nature at work, something bigger than myself. I don't have to like it. However I do have to accept that I have no control.  It is that sense of powerlessness that frustrates me.  The question becomes, can I find the strength and the optimism I once felt and apply that to strategies for creating a different vision of my future?

Renate Dundys Marrello 

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1 comment:

  1. You can, and you will because you search for answers. That is the key!