>The wisdom that comes with age also brings with it an arrogance that doesn’t become that age.
Everyone grows older, and everyone accumulates wisdom through their experiences. But not everyone grows wise enough to know that their’s isn’t the only wisdom in the world. They do not learn that somebody half their age may know differently. Which is why sometimes I think, parents don’t always know what’s best for their children, even if they wish them the best in the world. They forget that when they were young, they learnt from their own mistakes and that their children must make their own to learn things. And sometimes, what seems like a mistake may not be one at all. You don’t stop learning even if you’re 65!
Age gives parents the authority to substantiate their point of view with years of experience. But their experience may be different from mine or someone else’s. And the lesson it teaches may be still more different. You cannot substitute my experience with yours.
An adult is not a child even if you are a parent. And under the guise of a well-wisher, a parent cannot take away his children’s point of view. You cannot expect a 30-year-old to follow blindly in your footsteps like he did when he was three! As a child first and then a parent, did you not learn that you must let the child come into his own? Did you not learn that the decision to charter his own course is not a lack of respect or a lack of love for you but something more innocent?
If years of parenting has not taught your child to differentiate between right and wrong, nothing you say now can teach him. And parents sometimes forget that to teach is different from imposing. They forget that to support your children is different from creating dependability, to love them is different from binding them.
And when children have grown up they don’t just want love, they want respect too. Just like parents do. I know that because I’ve enjoyed that kind of relationship with my parents. I also know that because not everyone has been there.
I’ve seen adults grapple with their unsatisfactory relationships with their parents. I have seen disappointed children in 30-year-olds shed tears because the parents they love so much don’t understand them or their choices. These are the parents I talk about: 5o-year-olds who live with the arrogance of being their age, who feel abandoned by their children but have driven then away with their own behaviour.
I do not intend to make sweeping statements. But I hope I never become the kind of parent who drives her own child away.