An introspective look into how parents’ beliefs, personality, and experience shape their child.
While I would consider myself a non-traditionalist being part of a series of broken families and raise by a single parent, I do understand the benefits of the conventional structure. Two parents can mean two incomes, or a parent at home, overall more direct childcare, more family members to provide help, and more resources. And I don’t think single parents would argue having a partner makes it easier. If only to get five minutes alone in the bathroom.
Nature vs. Nurture vs. Nay-say
It was inevitable that my parents split by the time I was nine. Besides a 15-year age gap, being raised in different countries with different religious practices, my parents are as fundamentally different as fire and water. And I am their steaming offshoot.
Mother, my sole identified biological parent, is a frugal, hard-working, competitive swindler that was raised by a fervent religious family and always keeps her eye on the ROI. My stepfather who has raised me since birth is a generous, well-educated, socially sophisticated eccentric with a fondness for world cultures and tall tales.
Art & Science
Things my parents taught me;
After a solid ten years with my mom’s unwavering Protestant work ethic compounded with a due fear of being exiled from the people who once loved you, I’ve learned to be independent, to work hard for long hours, have commitment issues, and be in constant anxiety of being abandoned for not being ‘good enough.’
My early childhood years and periods of adulthood when I returned to live with dad’s belief of unconditional family love and self-growth with militant order taught me to not only strive for success systematically in happiness, love and career endeavors but to enjoy your failures with your triumphs as learning experiences. And that most people are morons.
Although parenthood isn’t a sure thing I have thought about what I would pass on to my offspring if they should occur and are kept. Ideally I’d take the best of both parental views and throw the rest away like drunken memories. But the bucket of morals and principles to choose and select from doesn’t just stop at parents. Stepparents, parents of friend, neighbors, older siblings and cousins add expertise in other areas. Reinforcing the concept that it does actually take a village.
I’ve had the extra benefit of being sent to my maternal grandparents every summer from birth to adolescence so I could witness marital bliss instead of constant discord. And having brief visits with my father’s relatives to experience family normalcy instead of relentless Bible thumping, gay bashing, and religious zealously that my mother’s family thrived off of.
While my womb remains bare for the foreseeable future my parental skills are tested on my nephew, my best friend’s daughter, and all children that are allowed to keep my company. While I respect the wishes of their parents I can’t help but feed them my own beliefs intermittently so they know there are no absolute truths but infinite possibilities just outside their front door. At least that’s what Auntie FeFe says.