Parental Dissonance VII

“You Can Always Come Home” by Aryeh Barasch

I remember the first time I got into a real argument with my parents. It wasn’t too explosive of an argument, but I remember clearly that it was about religion. The idea of religion, which is a way that we are supposed to choose to live our lives, is usually forced upon you from a young age in my community. I had to follow the rules, in every aspect of my life, dare I upset or embarrass my parents. Resentment was natural, which just led to more arguments growing gradually in tone until it hit a breaking point and I left home. It wasn’t for long, and things went back to normal fairly quickly, yet the idea of my parents not supporting me in my own beliefs was mind boggling. “Parents are supposed to support you, nurture you, tell you that you can be whatever you want to be” went through my head constantly.

The older I got, the more the resentment faded. It suddenly dawned on me one day in my late teens, an epiphany that changed my entire belief of how to view not only my parents, but people in general: They’re just kids having kids. People don’t magically change when they get married, they don’t magically change when they have kids, they don’t magically change when their kids grow up. It’s about viewing these people as, well, people. Parents are flawed because people are flawed.

Not one of us can claim to be perfect, not one us hasn’t fucked up in some astronomical way that we regret. Parents have that in spades – their job is tougher than anyone can imagine. You watch your children grow up, this same child that you fed as baby, held when they were sick, helped with their homework. They want what’s best for you, in their own way. They don’t cease being individuals, they have their own hopes, desires and dreams which they want to pass down to their children. When your child doesn’t share the same interests as you, beliefs as you, a rift can grow.

It’s nobody’s fault, and nobody is to blame. It doesn’t have to be the end of a relationship; hopefully, people are more than capable of having different beliefs and getting along when it comes to anything (be it sports, politics or even religion). As long as there is an acceptance and a desire to have that person in your life, there will always be a way. There are times where I feel guilty, maybe I should just go along with it the way everyone else does? Should I be just another proverbial cog in the wheel? But that’s not living my own life. However you choose to live your life is your own business, and I hope that my open-mindedness is extended to me, too.

The best thing my parents have ever let me do, though, is to simply let me fail. Let me make my own decisions; if I need them, they’ll be there. And to their credit they’ve done exactly that. Helped me when I’ve stumbled, picked me up when I fell. There are still arguments, yet nothing that ever gets out of hand. We understand that we want each other in our lives and we make it work. My mom told me something that always stuck with me: “No matter what happens, you can always come home.”

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