It seems that there is a mythic type of parent-child relation, the time when the child realizes that the parent is very much human and fallible. That it can be a bit of a disappointment in what you’ve built as a small frame for the world. Not that I particularly think it’s a good thing (and nor do I blame my parents for it), but the fact that I was able to experience it very early allowed me to integrate that into who I was even as a teenager. Somehow, I felt that it gave me equal amounts of exasperation and compassion toward my parents.
I would wager to say that what I’ve been grappling with lately is also something very potent in terms of recognizing yourself inside or outside the models of life that your parents created for you – specifically, how well do their values align to what you feel is right for how you want to approach your life? There is a lot of nagging in my mind on the naivete that is espoused in value creation. If I am firm and resolute about something now because of the experiences I’ve had, will I be a sell out if I change my mind when I’m older and these things do not apply? Or I realize that they didn’t mean the same compared to what I thought they did right now?
My Dad’s favorite saying that he liked to impart to me was, “Live to work or work to live?” He was very, very anti-establishment, as much as one could be being in the military. He refused to play nice for a lot of things sometimes, in the theoretical vein of, ‘Why play nice, when one has ethics to stand up for?’
As an outside party to his work, I only saw that his refusal to bake cupcakes and play the game were something holding him back from advancing who he was in a larger scheme of things. It hurt him, the family, and sometimes I thought, how he viewed himself, even if he was cavalier about it. Granted, this fusion was part of his identity, but was his stance of having his back toward the fire and staring out of the cave really a movement out of the cave at all? And I’ve come to the conclusion that…maybe I want to play the game. Will I come to realize that trying to better myself will be something that will lead me into a trap of those with more clout? Am I smart enough to circumvent the petty attitudes to achieve change? More succinctly, I’ve posited this to someone recently in the manner of, “You’ll have to play the game to the top, but, what if the playing is what changes you?”
I have this voice inside of me, a cynical man’s voice, that is telling me that feeding my ego rainbows and sunshine won’t make me a better person in the long run, and it’s my objective view of this voice’s life that makes me question if some sort of balance can’t be achieved. I told my co-worker earlier that how on Friday, when I was dealing with a bevvy of patrons in the last half hour of my shift, I dialed up for help within the department to be able to delegate and efficiently handle the workload and keep the patrons happy. I told her that I felt that my values told me that after I got off the desk, I needed to called both of the people to help me and to thank them for their help. I rambled on to her that, yes, perhaps that was playing the game, but if people know that they’re appreciated for how they can help me and how I might be able to help them, isn’t that a construct of a positive value within the system?