Monday, February 6, 2012

A response to Aimless: Teach Your Children Well

My good friend, Amy Kite, is an amazing writer. She writes a wonderful blog about living and parenting called Aimless.

Below is a link to her post "Teach your children well," and my response, a few thoughts on modern relationships and the shape we find them in today.

It is my firm belief that the paradigm for relationships is broken. Unhappiness, on a large scale, is the bane of any life. Unhappiness exists in many key moments that shape our lives, but as a whole, we often stay too long stuck in relationships we don't know how to get out of. As adults, many of us critique our every mistake and evaluate our every decision harshly. When spouses critique each other's every mistake, and harshly evaluate each other's every decision it is a recipe for disaster.

 We are the creators of our lives, of our happiness, of the dreams and visions we wish to make real. There are happy adults and sad adults, happy children and sad children. There is very little proof that adults living unhappily forever after can raise happy kids. Sometimes happy adults living happily ever after can't raise happy kids. Each relationship and each interaction has to be met by each individual. Adults must teach themselves how to be happy before they ever have a chance of trying to teach their kids how to be happy. Even then we may all end up on a therapist's couch one day or another. We also have to show our kids that they are responsible for being happy about themselves and their lives. I have a six year old who in my eyes has the greatest life in the world with everything he could ask for (except his own room) and he can only complain that his cup is half empty instead of half full. I can't make him be happy, but I hope some day I can open his eyes to the fullness of his life.

I truly believe that the paradigm of relationships is broken and has been for a very long time. There is a huge break down in communication that we see on an intimate, local and global level each day of our lives. Only adults who understand what an actualized relationship is can communicate their needs and begin to make themselves happy in order to allow a similarly happy person to share their life with them. Too often we are not taught how to have healthy relationships. Often we aren't even taught how to have healthy familial relationships let alone adult relationships with healthy, honest, open communication.

I've been married and divorced (three years, no kids - whole different ball game). Two years after my divorce, I married the wonderful woman I've called my wife for the last twelve years (Happy Anniversary honey!). When I got divorced there was no one there to tell me that a divorce without kids is just a healthy break up that costs more. In my eyes it was a relationship that ran its course and we needed our freedom to find true contentment and true companionship in our lives. I had no adult role models who were there to tell me this at the time to assist in helping me feel less like a failure and less like a complete idiot.

My freedom gave me the chance to find a partner who understood me and shared all of my core values. Have the last twelve years been smooth sailing? No! We are human. Some days are great, some good, some not so good, some bloody awful. It is what it is. No one needs to tell you that every day isn't a fairytale, but we often wish it was just some great fairy tail. But it isn't. Finding contentment in ourselves and our lives is the beginning of the path. It should lead us to the knowledge necessary to create healthy and communicative relationships that we are happy to be part of. As parents it is paramount that we teach our children how much we love them as much as we need to teach them that our love doesn't end when mom and dad change their "I dos" to "I don'ts."

The relationship paradigm is broken. Only we can fix it by building a modern model that works for us individually. Person A meets Person B (it isn't just boy meets girl anymore, and really I am not sure it EVER was just boy meets girl). They talk about their likes, dislikes, core values, belief systems and dreams. They agree to build a life together. It will be filled with laughter, tears, smiles, frowns, good times and bad. If they can continue this conversation honestly for the rest of their lives they just may be able to build the perfect system that allows them to live happily ever after.

1 comment:

  1. This is magnificent. As a child of divorce who was appalled when people suggested I might (or should) want my parents to get back together, I know that sometimes parents are better off apart -- and the kids are better off this way, too.


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