Being grateful

As an eighteen year old son about to embark on my new life in college, I sit here reflecting on my life and I find myself more and more grateful for my parents. My father works all week and my mother keeps the house in great condition. We have a great relationship, but as I look around me, I find that my peers as well as the general public have quite a distorted view on what a family is supposed to be. For proof, merely turn on the television and watch a simple kid’s show. You will notice that in almost every program, the father is the one that is funniest, but not in the way that a father would like to be portrayed. In the show, the father is usually the stupid one that always messes things up, leaving the mother or the children to fix everything. This implies to the audience (usually children) that the father is an inadequate leader in the family and that the mother should supply the income and support. The mother and father should have an equal partnership in the marriage, but obviously they should have different roles. In a nutshell, the father is the leader, protector, and provider. The mother is the supporter, nurturer, and homemaker. When the father position is forfeited by the man, this adds unneeded pressure on the mother, causing resentment between them. As this tension builds between husband and wife, the children are forced to watch this escalate, which engrains in their mind that this is how a marriage works, therefore dooming them to repeat the process in their adult life, causing a chain reaction throughout the generations. This process can be eliminated by merely balancing the roles in the marriage and setting a good example for children to follow.

After developing a proper relationship between husband and wife, one must not fall into the trap of the classic “parent and children vs parent” situation. In some cases, the mother and children are pitted against the father, and others it is the father and children against the mother. In either case, it is usually because the father or mother want to be the “favorite” parent, especially if the other parent is a step-parent. This is easily resolved when the favored parent realizes that his/her primary role is not as best friend, but as the parent and disciplinarian. The husband and wife should be best friends with each other before they join sides with their children, because it is our human nature as children to take advantage of one parent and pit them against the other to sustain our own personal gain.

Personally, my parents have done quite well the past eight or so years, and I am very grateful for them. So as you look back on your past experiences, realize that it was your parents or parent figures that have molded you into the person you are. This does not mean that you will turn out just like your parents, but it does mean that your upbringing has had a major impact on the way your life is going. This being said, do NOT blame your parents for your life not turning out the way you would have preferred. Perhaps your father or mother left you at a young age or you experienced some other kind of traumatic situation; this does not give you or anyone else an excuse for mistakes in life. We are merely influenced by our past, but we are not defined by it.

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