Winston and I had a disagreement last night. He got really upset, screamed, cried, and tried to beat me up. Poor little guy ran full speed into me as his attack method and bounced backwards and landed on his butt.
I remember disagreeing with my father, sometimes I could understand his point, but considered his position to be much tougher than the parents of my other friends. As a kid, your ability to calculate the appropriateness of your father’s discipline is constrained by your limited perspective. Examples include, “Why the hell does he flip out if I’m not home at 5PM for dinner, what difference does 5 minutes make?”, “Why does he make me wash and vacuum his cars every weekend?” “What does he want my help for when it comes to fixing the bathtub faucet?”, “My seventh grade grades don’t go on my final record, why is he so mad that I’m a C student? That’s average right? It’s not like I’m failing!”
Well, as I get older and have integrated into the real world and have assumed the responsibility of trying to raise children myself, I have to finally admit, he did have a point to all of it, even if I didn’t understand it at the moment. I think that’s a big challenge as a parent, you have all this perspective and you want to share that with your children, but they feel very confident making decisions based on their limited perspective. It would be like going to a land where it rained hundreds of dollars every day and trying to convince the residents to work hard and save money in the event that it stopped raining hundreds of dollars every day, the residents would look at you like you were an idiot.
I am a big fan of letting them learn from their mistakes and my kids are making many of them (as they accumulate an unprecedented amount of bumps and scrapes). Now I’m trying to make them learn from me and that’s going to be a long and very difficult challenge for me and the kids. So, I am sure I’ll face sprinkles of resentment for the next 20 years, but if Winston and Dalia can someday think that it was consistent and all made sense, it will be worth it.