This has been on my mind last last few days:
I was at the gym last week and I noticed that one of the regulars was training without his usual training partner. About half and hour later I saw his partner arrive and I went over to the guy who was training and said “Hey, your pal’s here”. He laughed and said “That’s not my pal, that’s my son.” I have watched these guys train together for years and never realized it was father and son. I made a point of telling him later how cool I thought it was that he trained with his son and what a lucky man he is.
I was never so lucky. I had minimal parental interaction in my life. The most physical activity I ever had with one of my parents was picking my drunk mother up off the floor and getting her back upstairs. My dad was always gone. Worked full time and went to school at night so he could keep his job. I never got involved in sports or other extracurricular activities in school because there was no encouragement or direction from home. Plus I was the youngest of four kids and kinda got lost in the shuffle. Now I’m sure if I was really driven as a kid, I could have pushed myself and perhaps excelled in something without them, but that’s pretty hard when you’re a teenager. And of course my mother always made a scene where ever she went, so I avoided all social events or activities that involved parents. Having friends over was out of the question, which made it tough to have friends. I don’t have a single memory of my parents sitting down with me and helping me with my homework or trying to get involved in my life in anyway. They had their own problems and I was basically on my own.
They are both dead now. Never got to know my mother very well, but my father and I were close later in his life.
Now I’m sure that I’m not the only one here who has had a tough childhood, but for those of you who complain about your parents meddling in your life, be thankful they care. Be thankful they are trying to be involved in your life. Try to get to know them, they may be pretty cool folks if you give them a chance. Not all of us can have parents we can train with, but they may be paying for your college or for you to play sports in school because they care about your future.
And for all you parents, don’t let your kids be strangers. Be their friends, not just the authoritarian figure in their lives. Had someone been paying attention to what I was doing and providing some kind of guidance I may not have made some of the bad descisions I did. You can learn a lot from each other. Take this opportunity to do so.