Reflections: Parent Traits

I love these question-type books because so often we’re so focused on the future that we place the past on a shelf to gather dust and/or be forgotten. I think it’s important to document our lives, not only the special times, but all times because life is too important, and too short, to forget. Answering questions from the The Book of Myself, are my way of remembering my past and passing those special times on to my sons, husband and you, dear blog reader. Remembering the past helps us understand the people we’ve become.

One of mom’s traits I admired was …

Her patience. No wait, her kindness. No wait, her positive attitude. There are a lot of traits about my mom that I both admire, and wish I possessed. Though I could say I have a positive attitude (most days), I certainly do not have patience and I’m kind … welll, okay, I’m kind most of the time, too.

I can’t think of a single person who dislikes my mother. She’s one of those people who people gravitate to because she listens and she truly cares about people. She’s always the first to help out when needed and she always manages to find the good in people, even when it’s not readily apparent. She bakes and makes things for her co-workers and really does go above and beyond the call of duty.

If I had trouble with mom growing up, it was in in this area:

She was wishy-washy and a bit of a push over. Go on, ask her. She’ll agree with me. As mentioned, my mother has a kind heart, so it was really hard for her to say no to me, my sister or brother sometimes. I’m embarrassed to say this, but I often took advantage of this “weakness” and manipulated her on more than one occasion.

One my dad’s traits I admired was …

His determination. His intelligence. His steadfastness. His ability to dissect situations and choose the most logical path.

I really credit the fact that I have common sense to my dad. I’m grateful that I have the ability to look at a situation from all angles, am able to see the big picture, and plan accordingly. Sadly, a lot of people do not seem to possess any, if very little, common sense. And, in my opinion, that’s one of the most important ingredients to a successful life.

If I had trouble with dad growing up, it was in in this area:

Probably his aloofness. We were a traditional family in that my dad went to work everyday and mom stayed home. So, I didn’t really see my dad a lot growing up. And on the weekends, he holed up in his shop in the basement, either catching up work (he was a TV repairman), or experimenting with electronics (which would explain his current position – he writes, and teaches, electronics for an online school).

My dad was an authority figure growing up. He was the one who put his foot down when we started to get out of control. Mom would want to give in, dad would not allow her to give in. He was pretty firm with us, but for me (and I can’t speak for my siblings), it was the best thing. I was rather a wild child in high school and had to learn some pretty hard lessons when it came to living by my parents’ rules. Dad is the one who made sure the rules remained rules; mom wanted to bend them.

For example: Curfew. When I was a senior in high school, I thought I was too old for a curfew. So, I simply did what I wanted to and shrugged off the curfew rule. My parents, being thoroughly sick of my arrogant attitude, took my house keys away from me. So, if I didn’t make it home by curfew, I had to find someplace else to sleep.

Being the stubborn person that I am, I of course tested them on this. And sure enough, the first time I didn’t make it home in time, I was locked out of the house. I tried to rent a hotel room, but for some reason (I’m thinking it was because I wasn’t 18 yet), I wasn’t able to. So, I ended up sleeping in my car. This happened a few times. But the last time this happened was when it was frigid outside and I didn’t have any sort of blanket or heavy coat or anything. I slept in my car and very nearly froze to death.

I went up to the door of my house and first demanded to be let in. As the night wore on, I then pleaded to be let in. My mom was crying and wanted to let me in, my dad refused to give in. So, I spent the night in my car, shivering and hoping my blood wouldn’t turn to ice before morning.

Though this sounds cruel, it was necessary. I needed to learn a lesson and trust me folks, I learned it. I was never late getting home after that. And I firmly believe that experience taught me to be more responsible and respectful today.

Could I do that with my own kids? Yes, I think I could. If I thought the experience would teach them a valuable life lesson, then yes, I would most likely do the same thing with my kids. When you’re a parent, you have to know when to draw that line, and then you have to stick to your side of the line. Think of the negative connotations if you don’t.

I can only pray I don’t have to teach my kids a hard lesson like that. I can only pray that my sons are not as hard headed as I was.