Thursday, September 4, 2008
The age of remembrance
I have solid memories dating back to the 2nd grade. If I try to remember beyond 1977, I can only remember a few scant details. I remember the yellow budded bush behind my house, I can recall some details of my room in Philadelphia and barely picture some of the friends I had at the time. (I moved the next year, so it's not that I remember them from later years) I can recall that my first grade teacher really admired Farrah Fawcett and had a poster of her pinned up on the wall. (and she was a woman!) Beyond those weird details I can't remember much else at all. Basically, your own sense of self and consciousness seems to have fully developed by age 7. Anything that happens before age 7 is merely a subconscious influence and not something you can directly call upon for decision making or recollection.
Since both my kids are now 7 and almost 10, I guess I should watch my influential behaviors a bit more. Anything negative that I do from this point is stuff that they can throw back in my face when they become adults. At least all of the bad parenting I have done in the past is something I can claim as being false memories of theirs. The stoic and cold reactions of my father have definitely made their impact on me. I'd like to think that the sensitive nature of my mother has also influences my current nature as well.
As parents, I think we all secretly desire our children to be just like us. In many ways, it's why teens and parents fight so much. The teenager desires their own identity and starts to dislike certain personality traits in their parents because they don't like it in themselves. (and vice-a-versa) I know when my father started to fool around behind my mother's back I was really bothered since I had looked up to him so much and emulated him. I wondered if I was doomed to eventually have the same "bad gene". (it's also quite disconcerting to discover your parents are human and make mistakes- but that's another blog)
I know my sons definitely look to me for reactions in certain situations. I fear that I may be breeding sarcastic and cynical people. I suppose that's not the worst thing as it does teach them to question things and not accept things blindly. But there's something to be said for giving a little and pretending to be happy to make others happy. Thank goodness they have their mother. She may also be a bit sardonnic at times but she is a bigger personality than she realizes. Her strength will teach my children that women are their equals and not to be objectified like the Farrah Fawcett poster.
I see myself in both my sons. It's a good thing I hope. I can only lead by example as best as I can. I like to think I do some things better than my parents and I can only hope that they do the same. I hope they can look back with fondness and I can only wonder what bits of info they'll remember.