Become Our Parents? No way! Not me! - Retirement Net by Linda Thompson

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Become Our Parents? No way! Not me!

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Yes, way. If you live long enough, it will happen to you, too.

Whenever I give a presentation about the generations, I include the following statement: “At some point in our lives, we all become our parents.”

From the facial expressions of my audience, I can immediately identify those who agree and those who vehemently disagree. I’ve obviously hit a hot button and it’s a sure-fire guarantee to generate some interesting dialogue.

Why do I say this, you ask? Because I’ve found it’s true. If you had told me that five years ago, I would have argued, but now that my Mother has been gone from this world for over two years, it’s becoming ever more apparent in my own life. As I question friends around my age, I’m finding their responses are in the affirmative too.

When we’re young, in our formative years and slightly beyond, it’s kids’ nature to think that their parents are hopelessly out of date—that they just don’t “get it.” How many times have your kids shouted, “You just don’t understand me!” Can you remember saying the same thing to your parents? Does anything ever really change? It’s the rare parent/child relationship that hasn’t experienced this dialogue at least once.

As time passes

When we are growing up, we have an almost obsessive need to shout out that we are different. That our way is the “new and improved” way to live. That we know more than our parents ever did or ever will.

As we enter our young adult years, we leave the safety of the next. We go off to college, get married, have children of our own. We become so involved in the daily routine and making the mortgage payment, that we don’t think much about our childhood. Some of us look to our parents for advice, but sometimes we still believe that we know a better way.

As time goes on and we become the elders, we take the time to pause, to reflect on what we have accomplished thus far and we look at our parents in a whole new light. We tend to think to ourselves, “Gee, I guess Mom was right.” “Wow, Dad really knew what he was talking about.”

When our parents pass on is when it really comes home. In the time that my Mother has been gone, I often find myself saying something, then pausing to think, “Oh my gosh, I’m becoming my Mother!” The first time it happened, it startled me. After that, I just came to accept that our wisdom increases with our years. That wisdom most often comes from the basics—our parents’ values and beliefs, how we were brought up, the environment around us.

So the next time you think, “Oh, I remember my Dad saying that,” don’t be surprised. As difficult as it is to believe now, one day, your kids will be saying the very same thing. It happens to all of us at some point. It isn’t good, it isn’t bad, it’s just life!

Linda Thompson is the author of Every Generation Needs a New Revolution, How Six Generations Across Nine Decades can Find Harmony and Peaceful Coexistence, Planning for Tomorrow, Your Passport to a Confident Future, a common sense approach to life planning; and A Caregiver’s Journey, You Are Not Alone, a survival guide for working caregivers. To find out more about Linda’s presentations, workshops and publications, visit

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