I often find that there is a certain circularity to life. Yesterday I penned a diatribe about how my Mother still finds ways to drive me crazy, which is sort of circular in itself. I had a conversation with a friend who wonders if they will make a good parent because they did not have a great role model….which is similar to thoughts that I had had before I had a child, which harkens to my blog post. Plus, we read a book for book club….
I had book club yesterday. We had read “Waking Lions” by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen (translation Sondra Silverston). During discussion of the book (because we really do discuss the book in my book club) the person moderating the discussion wanted us to discuss a quote that she found interesting…
“Like all fathers, he knew it was inevitable that he was destined to disappoint his son.”
Isn’t it odd that this was a quote that I was asked to discuss not long after I wrote a blog about how my Mother still disappoints me?
So my question is: Is it inevitable that parents disappoint their children?
I’d like to think that no, it isn’t inevitable. But then I think about how many people are in therapy and how often it really does relate back to their childhood. The saying is that kids are resilient, but is that really the case? I think kids are less resilient because they just don’t have enough tools in the box to learn how to properly take things in, and act (or not act) upon them. Yet every day, adults make decisions that will effect their children. Which is fine, because sometimes you have to be the adult and do something that is best for the family as a whole, but they forget that the kids need to be counseled about the changes, the positives and the negatives. Kids are not rubber balls: they don’t just bounce back.
Is there really any other path than the one that leads to kids being disappointed in their parents?
Parents are human. Yet, when kids are born, their parent becomes their world: hero, nurse, monster slayer, teacher. When you are a kid, you think your parents can do no wrong. When you’re a teen, you think that parents can do no right. Of course, the truth is somewhere in between, but at that point, the kid has already been disappointed by at least one of their parents.
Where do we go from here?
I wonder if this is why so many parents aim to be “friends” with their child: if you’re a friend, you can’t disappoint your child, because a friend is a peer, not an authority figure. And if you’re not in a position of authority, how can you disappoint them?
Is this why parents indulge their children? Spoil them? Because they’re trying to evade disappointment?
The more I think about it, the more I realize that you can’t help but disappoint your kids. Part of being a parent it making touch decisions, and often those decisions are in direct opposition to what a kid has in mind. We disappoint our kids because we give them a bedtime. We disappoint them when we make them brush their teeth. And we disappoint them with major things: divorce, remarriage, moving, addiction. We disappoint them by dying….
My parents disappointed me in many ways, and still continue to disappoint me. They are never changing their behavior. I can only try to change my reaction to them. Some days that is easier than others.
And it all comes back to resilience. We need to have a resilient core in order to do anything…