The Most Important Things That I Learned From My Own Parents
The following thoughts about parents (my own, specifically) are in reply to a question in the HubPages "Answers" section, about what people learned from their own parents.
My parents didn't approach being parents from a "teaching lessons" kind of angle (most of the time). They were more just about encouraging the awareness of what is more important in life. And, to them (and any number of other people in this world) what is important in life is good health, but not just being healthy by itself - also being fortunate enough to be born with, and ideally keep, a body that has all the usual parts in good working order. They (like many parents) saw those things as important for everyone; but also particularly important when it came to one's own children. Included in the mix they saw "a good, clear, head" for thinking as one of the most important things in life; and they so often talked about not doing anything "to muck it up" and using that "good head" to think for oneself.
Having lived through the Great Depression and World War II, they saw not struggling to feed one's family as important. And, needless to say, they saw peace as one of the most important things.
Having come from a generation where people (like my father's three-year-old sister) died of infections like Diphtheria; and having come through a time when children (including just kids in school) weren't treated very well by adults; being kinder to children was one of those things they saw "among the most important". Besides, keeping in mind what is "most important", they were "big" for stressing that one should be grateful for any of those "most important" things he has
Being aware of what's "most important" and even being grateful for those things wasn't enough, though. Part of what they stressed/lived was that we generally have a "life philosophy" of trying to preserve, treasure, and encourage those things
They were big ones for respecting ourselves and others, which meant that peace began (begins) at home.
My parents were of a generation that didn't even use the word, "parenting". Instead, as my mother used to say, they "just knew they wanted their children,were ready to have them, were happy to have them, loved them, and told them right from wrong"
As with all parents, there were a few things they did/thought that were kind of clueless in one way or another; but they offered us a peaceful and happy home/childhood in which the nicest times were just enjoyed and/or appreciated; and that the harder times called for pulling together, figuring out how to deal with something, and never forgetting those all important, "most important", things in life.
Like all people, my parents each had their own set of skills when it came to those things in which they excelled; but it was always clear to me that in spite of the lack of much formal education (which was common for their time when people who didn't choose a profession, or didn't have the opportnity to choose one, tended to work in manufacturing-related jobs (especially given the War) didn't go to college) my parents were intelligent, well informed, people who - at least as far I could tell - knew a whole lot more about "being a person" than a lot of other people who had more impressive formal education than they did. One of the reasons that I knew/saw how intelligent they were was that they took the time to talk to me/us. They bothered to explain their reasons/reasoning for wanting us to adopt one idea or another. (My father tended to "specialize" in "life-in-general" while my mother tended to "specialize" in understanding people and what people/children need.)
Neither of them was perfect. Both were a product of, and in some ways, victim of, their own time as well as times in general. Each was a product of his/her own family background and individual life, of course. Sometimes they tried so hard to make us happy that they'd do the wrong thing. Other times they worried so much (once we became old enough to do "the usual stupid stuff" that kids may do - and some kids, more than others) about what might become of us they made some mistake that they needn't have. Then again, sometimes they worried about the same stuff and pretty much had reason to.
The importance (at least to children) of a certain type of stability, sureness, and consistency were things I think I learned from my parents. Something else I learned, I think, was their belief that children don't need "to learn how rough the world is" in childhood; because their belief, and practice, was to aim for providing the best, kindest, and warmest childlhood as possible; because they believed that children should HAVE a childhood and that when they do they don't long for things they missed out on. More importantly, when children "HAVE" a childhood that's what gives them the time and environment in which to grow as strong , loving, and solid as a child can grow to be.
I'm sure that in their minds there were those things my parents would have attached the word, "teach" to; but for the most (and I mean MOST part), they didn't approach being a parent as if their main role was to teach. I have no doubt that they saw their role as parents as the most important thing in their own lives. Then, too, though, I just think they saw themselves as good people who got married, had children that they hoped would turn out OK, and that they hoped would know were loved by their parents.
As I said, they (like all parents, including me) could at times be clueless or not do what might have been the better thing to do. But, in general, they did a good enough job of being parents and people that their kids (at least I think - although i can only really speak for myself) could overlook, understand, or otherwise sort out the difference not just between what's most important in life, but what's most important in parents and people in general.
More by this Author
Re-thinking the approach to helping children give up the diapers they often like (for some reason), and use the toilet "like a big boy/girl"
In many families, and today more than ever, there is not always the expectation that grown kids move out as soon as they turn 18. Being a little flexible can be the best choice in some situations.
Too many people believe that anyone who is a "neat freak" has OCD. There is such a thing as neat, clean, people who don't have OCD.