This I Believe

Madeline - Darien, Connecticut
Entered on November 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: parenthood
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The other day my friend invited me to a co-ed sleepover. He also warned me that there would be beer at the party. I was reluctant to go—not because there would be alcohol present—but because I would be betraying my parents’ trust. I struggled with the decision to attend the party and not tell my parents about the beer. In fact, I had talked about the party all week and had failed to mention the alcohol.

In the end, I decided to stay home and pretend to be ill. My parents guessed the reason behind my decision. For a few minutes, we talked about it and they surprised me by saying they had no problem with my attending the party. They knew that I wouldn’t even have a sip.

My parents are good parents and more parents should be like mine. My parents have taught me values such as responsibility, honesty and hard work. They want my sister and me to take responsibility for our actions and to avoid blaming others.

They encourage us to be honest with them, which isn’t very hard since they don’t judge what we have to say. I can talk to my parents about anything and everything. I can talk to them about my problems with my friends or ask for advice on how to handle certain social situations. They often surprise me with their reactions.

The well-balanced role of my parents is analogous to the left and right hemisphere functions of the brain. My mother is the right brain because she is adept at creating things whether it’s a beaded necklace, a homecoming dress or home décor. My mother taught me the basics of sewing—the running stitch, the blanket stitch and how to sew a button to a shirt. She patiently guides me through jewelry pieces from layout to final crimping. She is supportive and encouraging. She recognizes my potential.

On the other hand, or rather, other side of the brain, there is my father. He is concerned with logic and critical thinking. My dad doesn’t believe I think critically, so he teaches me by sending articles on controversial subjects and we discuss positions on the subject. They have helped me gain perspective and slowly I am developing a political viewpoint. He has strong opinions, but he doesn’t force them on me. He challenges me until I am frustrated. He recognizes my potential.

Both my mother and my father strictly adhere to ritual—family dinners are mandatory. Everyone must be present at the dining room table. We set the table, and then we serve ourselves. Sometimes we get caught up arguing about genetically engineered foods or something.

I began this essay with an anecdote about a party. From that, I have learned that my parents trust each other and me. They trust me because they raised me to have good judgment and to be honest. They trust each other because they know that they have made every effort to teach their children their values.