Tuesday, March 25, 2008


By Phil Foust

Personal experiences shared by Wayne have perhaps inadvertently brought to our attention the regrets we all have after decisions of a lifetime. It seems to me that those raised in Kansas during our era were possibly taught to have everlasting guilt.

Many farmers could never admit to having a good crop or making a profit on an animal. Instead, a discounting of the positive situation was forthcoming. Parents were not always anxious to praise a child. Discipline was administered (sometimes rather harshly) for less than serious misbehavior. Perhaps it was taught us to not brag and to have difficulty in accepting compliments or in being able to enjoy real achievement.

Some of this regretful feeling could come from a lack of physical (or even emotional) love. In an occasional visit with others, I have found that the lack of ever a kiss from Mother or a hug from Father or either of them making assurance of their love was not that unusual. Even the revelation of family matters of this ilk can still impact a certain amount of uncertainty and/or guilt.

Those of us who were parented in this way are most likely not aware of the consequences. Our parents were busy attempting to survive a devastating depression and perhaps constant worry about a very severe world political situation. It was difficult for them to give full attention to their children and likely they were parenting in the way experience had taught. The generation of our parents was indeed exceptional and I'm not positive that a more "modern" way of thinking is actually a betterment.

At the same time, it took some years for me to understand that I wanted to change my parenting style. I'm still learning and it is difficult for me to properly express my love for my children and grandchildren. In reality, it wasn't just parenting that I wanted to change but instead a rather basic makeover. To be the man I should be (and want to be) is still my goal.

"Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change." - Confucius


Gary White said...


There was something amiss in this posting so I copied the graphic and text and put it up again, which seems to have cured the bug, whatever it was. Sorry to have messed around with your post.

Jay (J.D.) Mills, HP3AK said...

Phil, by the evidence that you wanted/want to change, you are neither very wise or very stupid! Seriously, I think that many of us who had parents like you describe later have made a conscious effort to change our ways. Thanks for your article.

Naomi said...

Phil, I have been told that "we parent the way we were parented" and I think those tendencies are there. I had some strong difficulties with my father and his way of parenting. He corrected his children in anger, never love. He had a bad temper and if things didn't go like he wanted them to, he lashed out, whether it was to a cow, a dog, or a child. I couldn't understand it until I did some research about the way he was raised. His father was the same way. My grandfather lost his father when he was very young, so never had a role model for parenting. It is very hard to give out to others what we have never received ourselves. I agree with J.D. We have to make a conscious decision to make a change in the way we parent. I'm sure my daughters have made decisions to do it different than I did, and they are probably doing a better job. As each generation strives to "do it better" we can see positive changes.

Sorry to get so long winded.

Naomi H. Remer

Diane Archer Bradbury said...

I'm reminded of the Serenity Prayer which paraphrased is "Grant me the strength to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference."

That is not exactly correct, but you get the idea.

Dick Williams said...

I thought that my family was the only one that was unable to express their feelings verbally. I don't remember hearing those three little words, "I Love You", as we were growing up. We knew and felt the love for each other, but for some reason or other we couldn't or didn't verbalize it. Where I live now, it is the exact opposite. I hear "I Love You", every day not only from family, but from friends also. It took me a while to get used to this, but once I did, I wish it would have been like that growing up.