Senseless Musings of a Senseless Past
As far as I can tell, I’m the only one in my immediate family who is stubborn. From where did I get this trait? Mom’s brother? My grandfather that I never knew? Not sure. When I was in tenth grade, my parents punished me for something-or-other by not allowing me to watch TV for a month. I didn’t watch one minute of television for the next five years, even after I moved out of their house. It was like saying “You call that a punishment?” In college, a lot of the members of my extended family loved telling me that my psychology undergraduate degree was going to be next to useless in the job market. This had the result of me staying in the psychology program long after I lost interest in it. I lost such interest in it that I never finished my degree, actually. (Not that I have anyone to blame, of course. That’s not what I’m saying.) At least now it gives me something to say when they try to admonish me for not finishing my degree. “Well you always said it was going to be useless anyway!”
Jaime and I were watching a short segment in between some PBS shows where they were going around DC asking people what their biggest regret/mistake in life was. Jaime and I were thinking about our answers for a while, and mine was pretty easy: going to college. Not dropping out of college, but going in the first place. Especially since I went through a series of nondescript majors that would have landed me some nondescript desk job with a cubicle, a computer and a phone. If not for college, I would have had five years of work experience (not to mention income) under my belt before I moved here. Add to that the fact that I am now a stay-at-home Dad and that is something I always wanted to do–something I always knew that I’d be good at. Looking back, it’s kind of disappointing that I was pursuing a degree for vanity’s sake. If you’re not going to use it, a degree is a good way to waste money. I understand that a good portion of college grads actually use their degrees, but I for one was never going to. The one aspect of college that turned out okay was the money part. Neither me nor my parents paid a dime for my tuition because of Georgia’s “Hope Scholarship.” I’m just another example of wasted tax dollars. Although… having to pay for it may have caused me to drop out sooner and get a bloody job!
I yelled at some lady this weekend whose aggressive dog got away from her and charged into my dogs like a rocket. This is the second time this has happened with this lady. The first time I was very nice and understanding. This time I disgustedly screamed “Oh Christ! Not even a leash can stop him?! Give me a break!” My dogs are fairly dog-aggressive, but they have never once gotten away from me and I take a wide birth around anyone who comes by, even with a stroller and two dogs to mind. This story has a point that ties in… at what point did I learn to act like this? Some would call it being a jerk, some would call it standing up for yourself and not allowing others to run all over you. Neither of my parents would have ever EVER done anything but be overly polite to others in public.
I think your kids are basically who they are and there’s not much you can do about it. My brothers and I grew up in the same house and all have different levels of ambition, different tastes in music/entertainment, different views on religion/politics, and different ways of dealing with those around us. It’s certainly not due to a lack of consistency on the part of my parents. I’m starting to believe that nurture vs. nature is about 95% nature. Stephen loves music and instruments. Is this because he is my son (encoded in his DNA) or because he is growing up surrounded by instruments? It’s a mystery.