The Sins of the Father

To know the future you have to know the past. How many misunderstandings and fights can be eliminated if we simply take the time to try and understand.

When dealing with people, as we all do on a daily basis, it is essential to know and understand where people are coming from – on an emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological level – if we are ever to understand the person.

Ignorance is bliss. An old cliche, but one that runs true, to this day. It is very unfortunate that, due to our rushed lifestyle, it has become the norm to judge and walk away as opposed to trying to understand and really come to grips with situation. Ignorance to the guy next door has become so acceptable that it is frowned upon to stop and ask someone if they need help. Equally important, however, is knowing when to stop helping. Some people continually get caught up in the same situation time after time, simply because they personally have not learned from their past and are unable or unwilling to see what they need to change.

Let’s delve deeper into this. We act as we see, we speak as we hear. Children, the little sponges of society, suck up everything they see and hear. Through their, yet undeveloped, emotional state of mind they interpret and imitate. It really is that simple.

How can you expect your child to resect his property, school bag and toys for instance, if your car is a constant mess and dirty? How can you fight with your child for swearing if you do it? How can you punish your child for leaving his clothes all over the place if you do the same? This art of a child’s upbringing teaches him lessons about how to live life. Instead of telling them, we should be showing them how to do it.

More important than this however is the way we speak to our children. I have seen grown men and women cry for the acceptance of their parents, reaching out for love and understanding. The effect of tough love, reverse psychology, constant criticism in an effort to get children to perform better and more. Unfortunately you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, unless he sees the error of his ways and choose to learn.

Let’s face it: every generation differs from the last. Your parents will never be you and you will never be your parents. True? Not entirely. Hang on to that thought for a moment. I’ll get back to it shortly.

I believe that we are on the brink of a change in society in general. Our generation is key to teaching our kids to be an integral part of a more understanding, considerate society as a whole.

Our parents grew up with mothers who mainly stayed at home to raise the kids while dad was away, making money.

Our mothers were taught that you keep quite, respect your husband and keep your house in order. Young men did not really have a choice either: you finished school, did your military service, signed up as an artisan, worked your behind off to provide for your family and went out with the boys whenever you pleased. Sundays you went to church, whether you liked the denomination or not. Their parents gave the final yes or no with regard to marriage and immediately after you got married the pressure was turned on to start a family. Our fathers would never change nappies or prepare bottles. Their only job was to discipline. All the while, these young men and women were left with immense frustration about their lifes, their jobs, their spouses, with memories of freedom typically associated with the late 60’s and 70’s or dreams and ideals which were never realised.

Their parents (our grandparents) in turn grew up as survivors of The Great Depression and World War 2. Our great-grandparents as survivors of World War 1 and so you can carry on. All of these events changed their behavior and thought patterns and actions. All of these were imprinted onto the next generation, each with its own resentments, anger and frustration. Each carried over to the next up to this crucial point where we have the opportunity to turn it around. How can we do this?

Go back now to my previous statement: our parents will never be us and we will never be our parents. Let’s break it down.

Our parents will never be us. You can not change that. Forget about it, it is not going to happen. They have their ideas about life, how things should or should not be done. That’s just the way it is, it’s never going to change. All you can do is ask for their acceptance and support, no matter what. Here I really have to thank my mom and dad. They may criticize, but they never blame and they never judge.

You will never be your parents. This is the tricky bit. We are only human and once, a long time ago, we were also no more than emotionally undeveloped sponges. We have seen and heard the way our parents operated when we were kids. We may carry our own anger and resentment about what they did or said. We may say ‘I will never be like my mother / father’. Unfortunately it does not always stop there. I think if we were to be video taped for a period of say 1 week, we would be very surprised to see how much we act like our parents did. It is very easy to say ‘I will never do that / say that / act like that’, but in reality it has been so imprinted on our subconscious mind that, in a moment of anger or frustration, your fight or flight mode activates automatically and it is in this time when it happens: you turn into your mother / father. Why, because it is what you knew as a child, and it scared the s@!t out of you at the time, so it must be effective.

Our generation have a huge responsibility to spot these natural actions, to understand where they come from and commit to change.

Apart from global warming, recessions, natural disasters and celebrity scandals, we have not had to deal with anything remotely as traumatic as a World War. We have all the resources and responsibility to ensure that our children grow up to be complete human beings with an understanding and compassion for the next guy. Only once this is achieved will we build a better world.

Let the sins of your father act as a lesson on what not to do, rather than a manuscript on how it should be done.

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