The Norman Transcript

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May 10, 2013

Parents and children acted differently back in the day

NORMAN — When I was a child, back in the Parenting Stone Age (aka the Parentocentric Era), your parents were the most important people in the family. They paid the bills, bought your clothes, prepared the food you ate, took care of you when you were sick, drove you to where you needed to be, tucked you in and kissed you good night. They were essential.

Your parents acted like they were bigger than you were, too, like they knew what they were doing and didn’t need your help making decisions. In fact, your opinion really didn’t matter much. When they spoke to you, they didn’t bend down, grab their knees and ask for your cooperation in a wheedling tone. They spoke in no uncertain terms, and they thought you were smart, so they only said anything once. The rule was very simple: They told you what to do and you did it because they said so.

Your mom and dad paid more attention to one another than they paid to you. You didn’t think about that at all. It was just the way it was. But looking back, you sure are glad you weren’t the center of the family universe. You were a satellite, orbiting around their solid presence.

They even told you, on occasion, that you were just a little fish in a big pond. You didn’t understand what that meant, of course, until you got out in the big pond and began to realize that putting oneself into proper perspective greatly improves one’s life and the lives of those around him.

They bought you very little, so you appreciated everything you had. And you took care of it. When your bike broke, you figured out how to fix it. Or your dad fixed it. In either case, you understood you weren’t getting a new one, not any time soon. You loved your mom and dad, but you left home as early as possible because you were absolutely certain you could make a better life for yourself than they were willing to make for you. And you were right.

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