Life is about choices – sometimes it’s the middle finger. – Living life in the middle of a sandwich

It’s March break for most kids in Ontario and as people with school age children talk about their plans for a holiday in the Caribbean or elsewhere, it reminds me how much has changed over the years. Growing up in the 1970s, March break wasn’t a big travel season as far as I remember. It was simply a break from school when we could sleep in, make snowmen, have snowball fights and go skating.

Summertime…well that was a different story. That’s when we packed up the station wagon with loads of luggage and lots of food and headed south to Florida (btw in those days, seat belts were optional!). Truthfully, it was a lot like the Griswald family in the movie Vacation. In fact, our station wagon looked very much the same!

My Mom loved clothes (still does) and had a tendency to dress us the same when we were on vacation <insert eye rolling here>. Mortifying for us as we got older but we complied because we had no choice. I don’t know about you but saying “no” to anything our parents told us to do was simply not something we did. Ever. Or. Else. We did what we were told. No options. No Choices.

Here’s a picture of one of those holidays …

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Mom in the back, (left to right) Natalie, Lorraine, Me (I cherished those Mikey ears and no that’s not my middle finger..) and Jacqueline (who desperately wanted those Mickey ears!)

Times have changed in so many ways

My kids were raised to say yes or no at will. They had choices for pretty much everything. What to eat, what to wear, who their friends were, go to post-secondary or not. Don’t get me wrong, we did have lots of rules. Frank and I were supportive no matter what (of course within reason).

BUT

If I had to do it all over, I would probably have pushed them a little harder to go to University. Jacob went to College and graduated on-time so I try not to complain too much. Thomas…well he’s still a work in progress..

Left – Jacob – to those who say “don’t chase a dream”. Right – Frank trying to get Jacob to do a secret handshake. Jacob was non-compliant. Remember what I said about giving our kids the freedom to say yes or no to us? 🙂

When I compare my childhood to that of my kids, I often wonder what would be different if parented my kids the way I was parented. Maybe my kids would be more independent? So yesterday, I had a conversation with Jacob and asked him what he would be doing if he didn’t have the freedom to try his hand at running a business. He said, he’d probably be working at a job he hated simply to pay his way in life rather than trying to make a living fuelled by his passion. After hearing him say that, how could I ever question whether I made the right parenting style choices?.

I’m so proud of him and his commitment to building a successful career doing what he loves to do.  Maybe it’ll work and maybe it won’t but at least he has the option.

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Jacob in his music studio – Terminal 16-

Life is about choices after all. I didn’t have many growing up but I make sure my kids have the freedom to choose their path.

 

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