The other night, I walked by my oldest son’s school and the playground that has provided so many memories for our family. Nostalgia always creeps in about the experiences we’ve shared and how rapidly the future is approaching. I’m a sap like that.
I started thinking about my boys and comparing their childhood to mine….what things I want to steer them TOWARDS and what things I want to steer them FROM. As parents, I think it’s safe to say that we always want to protect our kiddos and provide them with a great childhood, far better than our own. It’s a great goal to have.
Often, in pursuit of a great life for our kids, we provide boundaries, rules and discipline, hoping that these things point them in the right direction. The “do this” and “don’t do that” list is long and boy, do we get frustrated at those little boogers when they goof up sometimes. There is some comedy to the progression of life….us kids (you and me) becoming parents….shaking our heads as we enforce and guide our own children. Here’s a simple truth: AS PARENTS, WE’RE A BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES! It’s true and you know what, it’s ok. Let me explain.
A partial definition of hypocrisy is: “The behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). While this definition is in the present tense, you could also tweak the sentence to say; “The behavior of people who HAVE DONE things (us parents) that they tell other people not to do (our kids).”
We definitely all fall into this finger-pointing, “I can do it, but you can’t” category at some point, don’t we?! It’s just one of those pesky flaws that we possess as humans. Being a parent really highlights this whole double standard thing. I mean really, when was the last time we sternly told our kids to stop whining, or to share, or to have a better attitude about school or to clean their room or to talk nice about others….the list goes on and on. We’ve all been there, sternly enforcing the same things over and over and over and over and over again it seems! It’s easy to forget that we were young once, disobeying our parents, hitting our siblings, pulling some random kid’s hair out of their head (ok, maybe that was just me), crying on airplanes or in grocery stores, receiving glaring stares from old people and other judging parents. Now we’re the old folks, glaring at those punk kids…how dare they do those things! 🙂
The positive note to this whole parental hypocrisy thing is this: ALTHOUGH WE’VE DONE SOME STUPID THINGS AS KIDS, OUR LIFE EXPERIENCES HAVE EQUIPPED US WITH THE KNOWLEDGE TO PROTECT AND TEACH OUR OWN CHILDREN.
This has gone on for generations and although hypocrisy is not a great character trait in most cases, it’s played a big role in successful parenting for centuries.
So, before we get pissed at the crying kid on the airplane (super annoying, right?), let’s remember that we were once that crying kid, causing a scene. Those rug rats will someday grow up to be parents, full of hypocrisy, just like us, getting mad at their kids for the same things that they used to do as children! God must be so proud, ha!
Happy parenting! 😉