Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just Thinking About Parents...

A question that someone posted on Reddit got me thinking:


I remember this rule, and it got me thinking, so I responded.  Then, remembering how fickle the internet can be sometimes, I realized that there was a very good possibility that what I had written would disappear into the void.  So here it is:
This was the standard rule in our house, and I plan on doing it with our kids too.

The way that my mother described it was that if we were at school we wouldn't be allowed to play video games or watch TV, so we couldn't do it while we were home during school time either. On the other hand, we were allowed to read whatever books we wanted - but they had to be books, not comics - because we would be reading in school.

I do remember feeling a personal sense of triumph when I successfully argued that I should be allowed to watch He-Man at lunchtime, because my normal schedule was to come home for lunch and watch it.

The upshot of it was that we learned that if we were going to stay home from school, it wasn't going to be a fun time. If we were genuinely sick, then it didn't matter that we couldn't play video games or watch tv, we were too busy throwing up or sleeping.

Other rules that seemed to make no sense but ended up being awesome:

  • Homework had to be done by Saturday night. - While this was initially a religious thing (no work on the sabbath), and it was a giant pain for us because none of our friends did any homework until Sunday, it took away all of that Sunday night anxiety of rushing to get projects done/finish reading/write essays. It made Sunday's really relaxing, and meant that we could always watch whatever movie was playing on the Wonderful World of Disney.
  • Sugar-free Tuesday and "Two cookies each": It is what it sounds like. No sugary treats on Tuesday. Worse thing ever: Halloween on a Monday or a Tuesday. Gah. The two cookie rule was also what it sounds like - we could have two cookies for dessert, no more. No amount of begging, pleading or attempted trickery would get us any additional dessert. These rules helped establish a respect for snacks and desserts - they were something special, they weren't good for you, and we had to share.
  • Birthday parties only happen on even-numbered birthdays - I should clarify that by this I mean only birthday parties with friends. On odd numbered birthdays, we would get a party but only with family. We were sad about the lost opportunity for additional presents, but having just attended my niece's sixth birthday party with something like 20 five to seven year olds (there may have only been six of them, but they sure sounded like three times that many), I completely understand the logic behind this now. Also, if we only invite a few kids (oh, we also had a maximum of like three friends at our parties), then that means that the parents of only three kids are probably inviting us to their parties - that alone probably saved my parents HUNDREDS of dollars in birthday presents.
  • No computer on Sunday - man, I nearly forgot about this one somehow. We didn't have an Atari or a Nintendo, we had a C64, and it rocked. But we weren't allowed to use it on Sundays. This forced us to play with other kids (gasp - real human interaction!) and even got us outside (horror of horrors). Man, I hated that rule, but it did help keep us active and build social skills. Not that it's kept any of us from spending all our lives staring at screens now that we're adults, but we at least have happy memories. 
I don't know your situation, or your parents' motivations, but generally speaking all parents want what is best for their kids. I'm guessing that your parents were more interested in making sure that you weren't just faking sick to stay home or to keep you from thinking that being sick meant all-day play time. Plus, despite all appearances, our parents had things that they had to do during the day when we were at school. Staying home to take care of a genuinely sick child is one thing, staying home to watch a child that just doesn't want to be in school is a whole different ball game.

Judging from your comment history, I can see that video games and personal electronics mean a lot to you. And by "a lot", I mean it looks like every reddit you've ever posted to/commented on is a gaming related one. Is it possible that your intense love of gaming is somehow colouring your perspective?

No offence meant, but I'm willing to bet that a lot of the crazy messed up stupid rules that our parents had for us growing up will make a lot of sense looking back on them. Also, you could just ask your mom why she did that. It's a great conversation starter, and helped me relate to and view my parents in a whole new way.

TL;DR - Parents usually have your best interests at heart, give them the benefit of the doubt and you'll find out some pretty surprising things.

Upshot of the story, be nice to your parents. They were doing the best that the could with you, and face it, you  were probably a little turd when you were a kid.

No comments:

Post a Comment