I’m gonna be a better parent than my mom and/or dad.
Most of us (if not all) must have had thought about this sentence before. For me, I frequently catch myself thinking this when I’m in the middle of an argument with my parents or when I saw them doing certain things that I don’t quite approve of. I don’t know, sometimes I feel so snobbish to think that I can do things better than my parents. But it is true that there are certain things that I think I would not do if I were in their position. My thought and optimism to be a ‘better’ parent someday has not been budged until recently.
This semester, I have been learning about the concepts of childhood as my university breadth subject. It taught me that the way we conceptualize children hugely affects the way we interact and treat them. I was not aware of this fact until I was exposed to these different concepts such as children as innocent beings, evil beings, as agents, and so many other things. Such a random subject to take, I know. But surprisingly I learned so much from this subject especially as it forced me to look back to how I was brought up and how my own childhood had been.
And to be honest, I just realized that I could not ask for a better childhood.
Maybe for some people my childhood might seems to be exactly the same to that of a typical mundane Asian kid. However, now that I know how complex of a matter it is to bring up a kid and how different things we do might affect major things in their growth or even the way they perceive themselves, I couldn’t help but to feel extremely thankful to my parents for treating me in such ways that I grow up well without having any major problems.
I remembered how my parents had let me explore all my interests, encouraged me to join various extracurricular classes like piano, guitar, bass, clay-making, drawing, cooking, sewing, and so many other things that I might have forgotten some of them. They taught me so much about how to be a good and functional person both from their words and their actions. And of course, one of the fundamental things they managed to give me that actually shaped the way I am today is the lesson of love. I know it is cliche, but that truly is the one thing I am eternally grateful for from growing up as their kid. Living in this world which is full of demands and expectations is hard especially when you have tried your best and you realized sometimes you’re still not good enough. Ever since I was a kid, my parents never actually pushed me to be number one or anything. They just wanted me to do my best. And when I came home failing, they are still there to hug and accept me.
This realization of how there are so many kids out there who had to grow up without this kind of safe haven forced me to rethink the way I see my parents. Probably the issue here is how I kept on focusing on their faults instead of the things they did right. Or maybe, this is all just a trick done by my brain and the memories I looked back to have all been modified and romanticized that I think of my childhood as the best one although maybe at that time I was not thinking of it this way. I don’t know. I feel like from joining this class I get to reflect on my childhood, how I have taken some things in my life for granted and how not ready I am to have my own kids. HAHAHA.