Parents are people, not Gods. They cannot provide something out of nothing. They cannot give what they do not have. They cannot be what they are not and they cannot fill the emptiness in adult children who cannot or will not assume the responsibilities of an adult.

Parents, who themselves have never assumed responsibilities of being an adult, leave a poor pattern for their children to follow. Children who have no positive example often find themselves not only facing maturity without support, but facing the rejection of their immature parents when they dare to get out from under their control and follow the dictates of their own conscience.

My father was a parent who never grew up. He was a toddler when his mother died. Raised by his older sister, Rebecca, she catered to his every whim, fed him with empathy, condolence and entitlement. She justified her actions through her own immaturity and grief because their mother had died. She was hard working and dedicated, young, inexperienced and confined to repeat the convictions of those whom she depended on for food, clothing and shelter.

Millions of people all over the world tailor their convictions to justify their actions, knowingly or unknowingly doing what they believe is necessary, easiest of even possible to keep themselves and their families in tact. Ignorance, fear, necessity and opportunity all played a part in the choices they made.

My parents, like their parents before them, were cultured from birth to live, endorse and serve the religion of our forefathers. They were taught how to teach and discipline their children. They were taught the “law of obedience” was essential to salvation. They were taught not to “question the word of the Lord”, they were taught to “separate from non believers”, and they did as they were taught.

Not being able to work, live or survive among them if one had a difference of opinion, was a reality many dared not face. “Who is your family?” often echoed through the halls on Sunday morning, answered by,”Those who follow the teachings of God.” In our culture, men were to become Gods and the current leader spoke for God unquestionably –NOW.

Religions that are “exclusive”, not “inclusive”, based on “servitude” not freedom, hallmarked by “obedience” not “intelligence”, inherited their control tactics from the political regimes of history before them. Politics and religion have only been separate in this country for over 200 years. In many countries they are not separate. Countries, religions, communities, tribes, groups and families learn to use and justify these methods to get and keep control. They live what they are taught generation after generation because they were cultured to do it. Their survival in the community may have been effected or dependant upon their willingness to comply with the demands and control of others. They know no other way.

To underestimate the power of basic survival needs is to be unwise indeed. A man will work in a demeaning and unsafe job if the thought of not being able to support his family hurts more than what he faces at work. A woman will stay in an abusive relationship, if the abuse hurts less than the pain of not being able to provide for her children. Are we compelled to examine what the price of our obedience really is? Are we loosing ourselves in the process? If we loose ourselves, have any hope that our children will have the life they need and deserve? Are we capable and willing to let go of the past and take on the responsibility for our future. Can we afford to do it? Can we afford not to do it? Has this question lived in the heart and mind of each of us at some point in our lives? This question is not new. Our parents and grandparent faced this same quest. Many faced it over and over again. They were bound to consider the cause and effect it would have on everyone involved, especially their children

Before one condemns their parents for not giving them the perfect life, realize your parents did not have the perfect life to give. What they have earned, THEY have earned.
No one owes you what they have earned. Giving to you is a choice, not a debt. Even so, to expect them to give you a life of luxury and freedom when they live a life of poverty and bondage, you can clearly see as unrealistic, yet many are like I was, expecting to receive what was not there.

I expected tolerance from my father, but he never knew tolerance. How could he give me what he never had? I expected my father to give me acceptance and understanding, but he thought “ownership” and “obedience” had the same definitions. My father could not give me what he did not have. He could not teach me what he did not know. I had to grow up before I could love and appreciate Dad for what he was and not for “God” or the perfect human being, that the child inside of me expected him to be.

My father was a child of polygamy, controlled, cultured and groomed for the roll he played in life. In his youth he was excited, dedicated and strong in his climb for religious acceptance, priesthood power and eventually Godhood. In his late thirties he realized that the powerful Godman that he was could not provide for his ever growing huge family. With four young wives, babies born every year and a commandment to continue to eternally increase, never abandon the faith at risk of eternal damnation which could only be absolved through blood atonement. (It would have to be Dad’s own blood. Jesus’ blood wouldn’t save him if he turned away from the faith).

I can imagine my father’s pain as he looked at his young family. Even if he didn’t face eternal damnation or death, how could a man who could never admit to being wrong, tell his wives and children that their belief in him, in the religion, in their life style, was a mistake? How could he abandon them? How could he protect them? How could he watch them be taken away from him and given to a “good” man who believed? How could he keep them, provide for them and give them the time and the necessities they deserved? That is when my father began to drink. The drinking helped dissolve the pain and over time it helped dissolve the family too. My father indirectly taught me a lot by what he DIDN”T do. The sins of omission and the sins of commission can be equally effective in their lessons. Both can pole vault us to something better if we have the courage to see the lesson in them. The lack of balance in both extremes can help us find balance in our own lives.

Taking responsibility for your choices also means forgiving and accepting your parents for theirs. Perhaps if you had walked in their shoes you would have done it differently- perhaps not. Are you making better choices with your own life? Do you expect your children to love and forgive you for the choices they don’t agree with? Are you hating and blaming yourself because you disappointed your self or them? Are you blaming yourself because you are not God and could not give them the perfect life you never had to give?

You learned a lot from your parents. Some of what you learned was by default, but the lesson was there. Thank them for it. Thank them for your life. It doesn’t matter where you started. How far have you come? If you see opportunities and use them, if you see challenges and face them, if you see blessings and are grateful for them, you can see your parents as simply human and forgive them. If you can do that, perhaps your children will do the same for you.

Author's Bio: 

Rebecca Kimbel MsCD DTM, is an author, renowned public speaker and writer for several newspapers. To learn more about drug prevention, protecting your family and your way of life, visit http://www.rebeccakimbel.com