Parents and the damage done.

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
Mitch Albom – the five people you meet in Heaven

How sad that quote is true I thought when I read it. What damage was done to me and how has that legacy made me damage my own children? But it also made me think about the whole story. I realised that whilst all parents do damage their children, many are also there to pick them up when they fall, to kiss away the hurts and sooth the aches and pains.

Sometimes as kids we don’t realise that.

We don’t necessarily give our parents the credit they deserve for the repairs they do to the damage done. I am sure that there are bad parents but I am equally sure that most of us do our best. That we do sometimes struggle with doing the right thing by our kids but that the last thing we want them to do is grow up hurt or damaged. We want them to know that if their pristine glass is smudged that we will do our utmost to wipe those flaws away.

And you know, the smudges can be removed, they don’t have to be forever. The relationships we have with our parents and our children will ebb and flow with circumstance. There will be times when we are angry, other times when we hurt, still more when we concentrate on the flaws in the glass rather than the depth of its beauty. Sometimes the reflections cast from those flaws are not those of the people we are looking at but our own images staring back at us. All of these things, the blemishes and imperfections as well as the sheer beauty we can find in others are all parts of the complexities of the love that binds us.

Parents and the damage done.

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
Mitch Albom – the five people you meet in Heaven

How sad that quote is true I thought when I read it. What damage was done to me and how has that legacy made me damage my own children? But it also made me think about the whole story. I realised that whilst all parents do damage their children, many are also there to pick them up when they fall, to kiss away the hurts and sooth the aches and pains.

Sometimes as kids we don’t realise that.

We don’t necessarily give our parents the credit they deserve for the repairs they do to the damage done. I am sure that there are bad parents but I am equally sure that most of us do our best. That we do sometimes struggle with doing the right thing by our kids but that the last thing we want them to do is grow up hurt or damaged. We want them to know that if their pristine glass is smudged that we will do our utmost to wipe those flaws away.

And you know, the smudges can be removed, they don’t have to be forever. The relationships we have with our parents and our children will ebb and flow with circumstance. There will be times when we are angry, other times when we hurt, still more when we concentrate on the flaws in the glass rather than the depth of its beauty. Sometimes the reflections cast from those flaws are not those of the people we are looking at but our own images staring back at us. All of these things, the blemishes and imperfections as well as the sheer beauty we can find in others are all parts of the complexities of the love that binds us.

Parents and the damage done.

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
Mitch Albom – the five people you meet in Heaven

How sad that quote is true I thought when I read it. What damage was done to me and how has that legacy made me damage my own children? But it also made me think about the whole story. I realised that whilst all parents do damage their children, many are also there to pick them up when they fall, to kiss away the hurts and sooth the aches and pains.

Sometimes as kids we don’t realise that.

We don’t necessarily give our parents the credit they deserve for the repairs they do to the damage done. I am sure that there are bad parents but I am equally sure that most of us do our best. That we do sometimes struggle with doing the right thing by our kids but that the last thing we want them to do is grow up hurt or damaged. We want them to know that if their pristine glass is smudged that we will do our utmost to wipe those flaws away.

And you know, the smudges can be removed, they don’t have to be forever. The relationships we have with our parents and our children will ebb and flow with circumstance. There will be times when we are angry, other times when we hurt, still more when we concentrate on the flaws in the glass rather than the depth of its beauty. Sometimes the reflections cast from those flaws are not those of the people we are looking at but our own images staring back at us. All of these things, the blemishes and imperfections as well as the sheer beauty we can find in others are all parts of the complexities of the love that binds us.

The old and wise

From Journal 1 12th March 1986

It’s Funny but when I was a young child I considered my parents to be old and wise. Now when I am a parent I certainly don’t feel old and at times not all that wise. Being a father has made me realise that the twenty or thirty years age difference between most children and parents is not all that great a time.

Already Luke is two years old and Glen over six months and time sems to be marching on ever more quickly. Lyn and Ioften refer to the things Luke used to do as a baby as Glen reaches and passes through the same stages. This is not an attempt to be maudlin and shows no regret because each day brings new joys, but I often wiinder how one can be nostalgic for things that occurred such a short time ago.

Having children has also reinforced that feeling of mortality and the sense that life is short. I lost Pa Joyce when I was 17 years old and I was lucky. Most of the kids I knew had lost grandparents a lot younger than I was at the time and some of them had lost parents as well. If Luke is that lucky that means my parents or Lyn’s parents may die some time in the next 15 years and that does make me sad.

By the same token children give one a certain sense of immortality for as long as they live the memories of their loved ones linger on. I hope Luke and Glen are at least as lucky as I was.

***********************************************************************
Postscript
They weren’t. Lyn’s father passed away as a relatively young man of 56 in 1989, six weeks before the birth of my first daughter , my Dad in 2004. Both their grandmothers are still alive, my Mum at 77 years of age and Lyn’s at 74.

The old and wise

From Journal 1 12th March 1986

It’s Funny but when I was a young child I considered my parents to be old and wise. Now when I am a parent I certainly don’t feel old and at times not all that wise. Being a father has made me realise that the twenty or thirty years age difference between most children and parents is not all that great a time.

Already Luke is two years old and Glen over six months and time sems to be marching on ever more quickly. Lyn and Ioften refer to the things Luke used to do as a baby as Glen reaches and passes through the same stages. This is not an attempt to be maudlin and shows no regret because each day brings new joys, but I often wiinder how one can be nostalgic for things that occurred such a short time ago.

Having children has also reinforced that feeling of mortality and the sense that life is short. I lost Pa Joyce when I was 17 years old and I was lucky. Most of the kids I knew had lost grandparents a lot younger than I was at the time and some of them had lost parents as well. If Luke is that lucky that means my parents or Lyn’s parents may die some time in the next 15 years and that does make me sad.

By the same token children give one a certain sense of immortality for as long as they live the memories of their loved ones linger on. I hope Luke and Glen are at least as lucky as I was.

***********************************************************************
Postscript
They weren’t. Lyn’s father passed away as a relatively young man of 56 in 1989, six weeks before the birth of my first daughter , my Dad in 2004. Both their grandmothers are still alive, my Mum at 77 years of age and Lyn’s at 74.