The Truth Is, We Are Exactly Like Our Parents And That's Not A Bad Thing

by Ray Nettling

Anyone who knows me super well knows that I am, without a doubt, a mama’s boy and I’ll be the first one to admit it. Growing up, the words “Mom” and “Dad” had several different meanings for me.

They meant gourmet chef, chauffeur, maid, doctor, counselor, sports fan, disciplinarian, coach and people who nag me (to name few). To me, my parents were stars who could juggle so many different things at once that they seemed to be nearly superhuman.

As I’ve grown older, it has become clearer to me that their parental roles — a real mother and a real father — were so much more than all of this. It was their job to mold character, build confidence, to guide, nurture and to love.

Now that I’m out on my own, trying to navigate this tricky game called life, I’ve come to an even greater realization: Neither of them has all of the answers, contrary to what I believed as a child. They also aren’t the nagging people who constantly wanted to know where I was going and who I was hanging out with.

I now understand that they are both equals, peers and friends; they each have just as many flaws, go through just as many struggles and have just as many questions about life as I do, all-the-while just trying to be the best parents that they can be.

In general, all people are the same, whether or not they want to admit it. Pretty much everyone spends a huge chunk of time worrying about money, how he or she will put food on the table, careers and families.

On top of this, every person wants to feel important and accepted, even people who are already important and accepted. Every person has his or her own anxieties and insecurities, no matter how rich, well fed or successful the person may be.

Every person grows irritated by the people they love and all people are afraid of failure and feeling stupid. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that your parents messed up somewhere along the way during your upbringing.

One of the hardest parts of growing up is learning to accept that your parents probably didn’t do everything perfectly and that you didn’t make it easy for them.

Children aren’t born with instruction manuals and parents only want the absolute best for them. One of the first real testaments of growing up is being able to acknowledge, accept and in some cases, forgive your parents for any mistakes they may have made.

Parents are people, too, and all people have feelings and make mistakes. No person is perfect.

Perhaps the biggest epiphany I’ve had through all of this is that although my parents have their own obstacles they are navigating, they have always put my flaws, struggles, hopes and my dreams before their own.

Beyond the DNA that binds us, what makes my parents “Mom” and “Dad” is the fact that they have always put themselves second to my well-being and continue to show me love.

So, to my parents (and all of the others out there), I just want to say thank you for everything. I know I may not be able to do it right now, but I promise that I will some day be able to repay you both for it all.

Photo via We Heart It