Parents are a mystery. As children we want to grow up to be just like them, and by our teenage years we want to be nothing like them. Eventually, Superman shows us his Kryptonite and “You’re just like your mom” becomes an insult.
Every time we find ourselves behaving in a way similar to our mother or father, we get scared because we also remember all of the choices they made that we don’t want to make. The way they disciplined too harshly, spent their money too quickly, always showed up 15 minutes late, never finished a project, complained, and fought.
However, these were all choices they made and were not forced to be this way. They chose to spend their money quickly, they chose to stay an extra 15 minutes in front of the mirror, and they chose to yell when we didn’t do what they asked. Does that mean they will always be this way? Of course not. So, If our parents have the option to change, why do we believe we can be confined to a lifestyle they have lived?
Many of us are convinced that our lives will end up just like our parents’. We will spend money too quickly, we will fight, we will never be on time–
because that’s who we are.
If we believe the lie we are exactly the same as our mother or father, we lose what makes us different. All that makes us uniquely us.
Every relationship we have will be affected by this lie if we continue to believe it. We may begin to expect certain outcomes and prepare ourselves accordingly. We shield our hearts or shut down. We will do anything to not end up like them.
We might share the same ridiculous laugh, or muscle build, or love for music, and we should embrace it–not try to avoid it. We do not need to hide from what makes us similar, because it is not all that we are. When we stop focusing on all of the negatives, we are able to remember the positives.
The love they showed us when our heart was broken. The grace they showed us when we messed up. The patience they showed us while we learned to ride a bike. The peace they showed us when we were unsettled. The thankfulness they showed us when we cleaned our room without having to be asked.
Hear this truth: The actions and choices our parents made do not define us. Even the words they have spoken about us, do not define us. They are human, and they are going to do and say things that are hurtful. It is up to us how we handle the hurt. We can let it scare us, or we can let it inspire us.
We are given the opportunity to learn from our parents, right from wrong. Sometimes we learn what is right by seeing them do right, but other times we learn right by seeing them do wrong. Choosing to forgive them will heal the hurt.
We can love greater, show overwhelming compassion, give grace freely, have tremendous hope for the future, and when we make a similar choice our parents have, we can find peace knowing we are not defined by it.
How has the fear of becoming your parent affected you? How have you embraced all that you have seen from your parents?