The Family Curse
I believe that what I do and how I act will allow my children to be better than I am.
My mother always wanted things to be better for me than they were for her and I wanted the same thing for my children, I am sure most parents feel that way. Events in my life have made me look at the whole thing differently lately and have caused me to re-evaluate what “better” actually means for me and my family.
As my children were growing up, it was about financial security. My Mom didn’t want me to struggle the way she had to. I always wanted my children to have everything they needed so they could concentrate on their futures. My wife and I would tell them their jobs were school; their financial needs would be taken care of by us.
While important, I now know financial security was not the most important thing for my children. That whole philosophy has changed for me. Growing up, my mother would always say when it came to family making mistakes in one generation and then seeing children of that next generation making the same mistakes. She always said “Nobody is learning from anybody else”. My son calls it the “Family Curse”.
I always saw her words played out in the fact that many of my uncles and aunts, while wonderful men and women in their own right were alcoholics. I have seen those uncles and aunts who I love and admire bring forth a generation of alcoholics and drug abusers.
My destructive behavior did not manifest itself in alcohol or drugs it has caused harm to folks I love and I am ready to break the cycle.
After finally taking responsibility for my own issues I understand where a better life starts for my children, it starts with my example. While many of the behaviors I have had with my children have been more positive than my own were, I know that those negative behaviors I exhibited during their formative years have shaped who they are and the types of adults they have become, how they deal with relationships, with hardship.
Recently, I have talked with each of my children about one or two things I did as they grew up where they looked for me for support or encouragement and I failed them. I told them I didn’t fail them because I didn’t care or love them, it was because some behaviors engrained into me since childhood had become automatic. Things I used as survival skills as a child are so engrained into me in times of crisis they became my default behavior. I described it to my wife on day as being caught in a storm. I would strap myself to a mast endure the storm and wait for it to pass.
After 56 years I am trying to use the wind and storms to my advantage. Sailing into them and staying at the wheel during the storm instead of holding on until it passes. My learning to be the captain of my ship, even at this age will hopefully serve as an example to my children as they begin life long relationships and start families.
The family curse ends with me
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