Your parents did the best they could. But they just didn’t know what we know now. The expectations were lower. They were flawed people.
One night, Winston Churchill and his son Randolph stayed up talking about politics until the wee hours of the morning. Lost in the joy and connection of it, Churchill, according to Josh Ireland in his book Churchill & Son, was suddenly struck by a thought of his own unhappy childhood. He turned, with sadness, and said, “You know, my dear boy, I think I have talked to you more in these holidays than my father talked to me in the whole of his life.”
Churchill’s father, as we’ve talked about before, was a flawed man. But so too were the standards and practices of his time. Churchill swore he would do better. He wasn’t perfect himself, but he largely succeeded, at least in the areas his own parents had been so defective.
Our job is to do better. We know more. The expectations are higher. We are flawed, to be sure, but we have the benefit of having seen the costs and perils of our parents flaws. We need to give what we didn’t get. We need to be what we needed.
We need to do our best…but mostly we need to do better.