I was raised in a family culture that treated children as second class citizens. The parents consistently used the saying, “do as I say; not as I do.” I felt this response gave them a pass to not exhibit good behavior. As a child, this practice taught me unfairness.
I was a very inquisitive child and had a need to know and understand. Yet, I was not allowed to explore my needs. I found these restrictions to be stifling and neglecting my talents. This made me feel like a captive, which resulted in me becoming a rebel. My revolutionary spirit, driven by my natural instinct “to be the change I wanted to see” resulted in me having a strong sense for fairness and justice.
Where I was raised in extreme left, I parented in extreme right.
I believed in order for a parent to exhibit fairness, they should practice what they preached. I never wanted to be a hypocritical parent; so, I strongly believed in leading by example. I wanted my Son to feel free and know that he was being treated fairly. If I did not want my Son to do it, I should not do it. If I did not want my Son to say it, I should not say it. If I wanted my Son to eat it, I should eat it.
I allowed my Son to have and exercise a freedom of speech. This freedom caused him to face a great deal of behavior challenges in places outside of our home. He always had great grades, but his behavior was always questioned. In his Junior year in high school, he made the grades to be in the National Honor Society, but he was rejected; because of his behavior (practicing his freedom of speech).
As he faced challenges, I remained steadfast in my belief and was his advocate. As I became tired of facing outside authorities about his behavior, I began to recognize that he lacked flexibility or as his wife says “had no filter.” I began to explain to my Son that he needed to recognize his freedom of speech was ONLY in our home and not in other places.
Now as an empty nester and my experiences in life, I’ve learned that “life is not fair!” Now, I know the unfairness I experienced in my childhood was teaching me just that. It’s impossible for parents and children to be in equal status in this game of life. There are some things that parents are allowed to do that children just can not do and bad things do happen to good people. The sooner you learn and accept it, the better you will be. This is what I should have taught my Son.
Because I am still a critic of hypocritical parents, I still do not believe in the saying, “do as I say and not as I do.” I now know there is a better way to handle the unfairness; because it is not what you say, but how you say it. By simply executing the lesson that there are some things adults are allowed to do and children are not. Once you become an adult, you can engage in adult privileges. So when a child asks, “Why do you get to drink that or why do you get to say that?” The best response is, “Because I am an adult.”
An unfair life lesson is imperative.
One day my GrandDaughter Mink saw an alcoholic beverage sitting on the table and she said, “that’s for grown people.”
I received her statement as confirmation that my Son and Daughter-In-Law were positively teaching the unfair lesson.