I had quite an argument with my parents today. But we all get into arguments with our parents. One could even say it is a normal and common part of growing up and learning.
I will not go into the details of the argument, nor the reasons behind it, as I am not here writing to a jury trying to point fingers, defend my standpoint, or state my case. I am also not here – surprisingly – to vent (I’ve already done that elsewhere). And I most definitely do not want to hear anyone’s verdict, or have someone decide who is at fault here.
I will say this much though: for an argument to occur, both parties must be at fault. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a fact.
Here are my thoughts post-argument:
That moment has now become a single speck of memory down a long line of memories that will in some minute, infinitesimal, minimal way mold me just that tiny little bit into my future self, (mind you, future is relative here. It could be the future that exists in the next second, the next hour, the next month, or the next 10 years.)
That moment is now out there, it is done, it is gone, and it is irreversible – unless someone discovers time travel, but if someone were to discover time travel, they’d probably use it to take over the world and change history as we know it and many other things that I guarantee you won’t be good, so let’s just stick to the current scenario.
That moment is going to come back and haunt me one of these days in the form of my mother or my father. When we are all sitting down watching TV, or having lunch or a late snack, perhaps with guests over, relatives, my husband and children even, and I open my mouth to complain about one thing or another, or tell off my son or daughter. Suddenly they get excited and jump in to finally teach me that lesson they were trying to teach me many years ago when I was too obstinate to listen.
And immediately they will assail me with their “I told you so!”, the “oh, so NOW you agree? Remember when we tried to tell you that, but you were adamant with your views and said this and that?”, the “how many times did I try to tell you, but you always refused to listen”, or better yet, the classic, quintessential “SINCE WHEN?” (and trust me, it sounds even better in Arabic).
Is it odd that that is all I could think of during and after the argument? I don’t feel bad, I am not racked with guilt, nor do I regret the premise of the argument, but I can’t get that thought out of my head.
As it happens, I know for a fact that ten, fifteen years down the road, I will be saying all the same things my parents were saying to me today to my own children. And that scene I described to you up there will take place, and I will probably argue with them again telling them it’s different, and they shouldn’t compare – and all that other nonsense. Or perhaps I will simply agree with them and then try to change the subject to shift the attention away from my younger, sillier self.
In any case, here is what I do believe. Whatever the argument may be, despite its significance at the time, or how it was initiated or by whom, it is important to understand that one will never learn unless one makes his/her own mistakes.
You can advise a person, talk to them, tell them your thoughts on the matter, give them a nudge in the right (or wrong) direction, but at the end of the day one needs to make his/her own mistakes if they are to learn anything. It’s true you could learn from other people’s mistakes and experiences (and you should), but that also should not become an impediment to one’s experiences and how they live life.
There are two sides to every story, and each and every experience is different from one person to another. I am not saying stop it completely, but limit the amount of restraint that you have on children. Let them go out there and get their hands dirty every once in a while, let them fall and chafe their knees; they will get up eventually and be even stronger for it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of having people around me who care for me so much they try to control every aspect of my being. I am smitten with that notion and fascinated by it. However, the older one gets, the more set in his/her ways they are, and that includes even me at 24.
So if I seem stubborn, headstrong, impertinent or determined, it is only because I will always want to go out there and experience things for myself. Because no matter how our society is set up, or how many life-stories I’m told, or how much wisdom is shared with me, or what experiences others have had, it will never be enough. I will always want to go out there to learn and explore on my own.
Right or wrong, it’s how I feel.