Last night sent me back to my years in school, a smart child who was only happy when all her grades were perfect and rated top in her class. My daughter made me so proud when her name was called as top scholar of her class of 535 students. I was beaming. Success! I had a taste of success as if it were my own. I jumped of joy, elated in her achievements. It is the kind of moment parents live for. Then I sat down to give my kids a bit about parenting and expectations. Yeah! I can get real and dirty like that.
I often tell them they did not come with a manual. What I believe most parents wish for their kids is success in life. Success that translates into being better than your parents were or are, We want the best for you and if we are up there on the ladder of what society calls successful we want you to surpass that rung. It’s not a tall task because we know we did it and so can you. After all a child is all that’s better in us, from us and he has is on his side, a parent always ready to promote him. We seek for you to build from our blocks, learn from our past, hear the lessons so you can harness it all then take off. Maybe it’s my version of parenting. Some parents may not feel this way but I haven’t met many.
When a child doesn’t surpass us we fall into acceptance, the speech of happiness. Happiness is what matters we say. Happiness doesn’t bring elation to parents, it’s a cushion for disappointment. Parents feel disappointed when their expectations aren’t met. Those expectations: all that is good, all we value as good that proves you’re the higher, better version of what we wanted for ourselves, what we dreamt about and more.
When that doesn’t come to fruition, we ask you: “are you happy?” And if you say you’re happy, most of us may leave it at that and accept it’s your life, you are not a better part of us. You are you. There’s a lingering sadness to this, a sense of failure and disappointment you probably don’t care to learn about, won’t comprehend or accept and probably may be angered by. It doesn’t mean we don’t love you. We are burying a part of us we believe is in you. We are suffering loss; loss of self, unfilled expectations and are bound to be sad. We know being you, starting off on your own and not building from what we are glad to offer you will bring you sadness and suffering. Starting from scratch always does. It may make you proud and feel like a string individual, but it will be difficult. No decent parent ever wants to see their child suffer even from the life they chose for themselves, they admit makes them happy.