11 October 2012

Parental fallibility - where were you when you noticed?

I was talking with a friend today about when we realised our parents could be wrong.  It's a fairly pivotal moment when your entire life to that point has been steered by their moral compass, their world views and their preferences.  And then, with a small sigh of a tear, there is a chink in the completeness of that world and before too many years go past, that tear will move from being barely noticeably to a schism the size of the grand canyon.

And its part of growing up, learning to negotiate that rent in your relationship. First you question that thing you notice, then you question so much more.  You firm up your own views and create the black and white universe of your adolescence where everybody else seems so sure of themselves that you yourself adopt absolutes to try and navigate your way through without drowning.

And the world gets more grey as you move into your twenties and beyond and all being well, you can look back with increased self awareness and laugh at your earnest 'right' self and understand that there was so much more for you to learn, but you hadn't quite fathomed that the learning didn't stop with graduation.  

Your colleagues, new friends, lovers and the world at large present you with more options and because your world is bigger and wider and brighter and more brightly coloured, the chances of your parents being wrong increase. And along that journey, you have that second revelation that your parents are people.  And fallible. And in fact, they even have names that aren't Mum and Dad.  

And hopefully, if you've any self respect, you accept responsibility for the person you've become and are thankful for the things they were right about and recognise that they too once had a moment where they realised that their parents were not always right.

In fact, because they are people just like you, they are still travelling through a world of black and white and grey and the glorious kaleidoscope of colour that is experience.  And there is something quite powerful and reassuring in that shared reality. 

And while it wasn't the first thing - I just want to have it on record that the bubbleskirt did come back in and it would not have been a waste of money.