I sure have! Yep, I had the perfect childhood. I'm sure my parents will be having a bottle of wine over this blog post.
Ok, so it was not perfect, my parents are not millionaires ;) , although my father does keep trying over and over and over again to be one and with astonishing regularity over the last 4 decades... playing the lottery.
Apart from that, I can't think of anything I would change. Both my parents were present in my life, even with all the overtime my father worked I cannot remember him ever not having time for me or missing his presence. My mother was home 6-7 months every year which was great because when I had a question more often then not it was one of my parents who was there to answer me. They were present to challenge me and make me think if I said or did something foolish. Obviously we could have had more "stuff" if my mother had worked full time, but "stuff" would have been worth nothing to having one of my parents so present in my growing years.
People might think I was spoiled being a single child but that's not the case, my first bike I had to earn my money through house chores so I could buy it myself, I had it for 5+ years, maybe having paid for it myself had something to do with that? That was my first class of economics and I was only 7 years old. I ended up buying all my future bicycles as well. The only time I ever got anything was Christmas and my birthday and it was not a mountain of gifts. Also I never screamed in a store "demanding" such and such a toy, my parents always gave me the same respect they would an adult and it was required I act as an adult in terms of demeanor. If I did not they did not acquiesce my emotions and I paid the price, it never felt strict or unfair whenever I was punished, I knew I had broken a rule and they took the time to explain to me why and made sure I understood.
I never did miss out on anything, I tried a lot of team sports and my parents invested in whatever I needed to play those sports, just the basics, nothing fancy. When I ended up not enjoying the sport (hockey, soccer, karate, etc...) and wanted to quit they always made me finish the "season", which I often reluctantly did.
Nothing was ever forced on me except personal responsibility, if did something wrong I paid the full price for it, if it meant a week in house punishment, it was a week. No way they were going to let me off the hook, after all if you get in debt by being irresponsible are the people you ow money too going to lessen the debt? That goes for life in general and they wanted me to understand this as soon as possible and I did.
The single best example of them never forcing me in any direction is with school, they could tell early on I was bored at school and by the time I was 15 I decided to quit and go to adult school (the concept was more appealing). My parents had to sign for me to be allowed to quit at 15, they signed on a Monday and the next morning I was out the door looking for a full time job to pay pension until I was back in school. Again, personal responsibility.
They hammered away pretty good at being responsible for oneself without having to actually use a hammer ;) .
As a kid I went on so many road trips I think I saw everything there is to see for kids within a days driving distance, this went on for about 8 years. Again, no fancy hotels or expensive trips. The best memories I have of those trips... Being with my parents.
And there was the cottage, the best memories of my childhood are spending all summer at the cottage, no tv, no video games, no motor bikes until I was about 14. It's weird because I just cannot remember what kept me busy and not bored all summer long. All I know is I can easily go without "technology" and I know my cottage experience has something to do with it, gracias a mi padres.
One thing that sticks is how nothing was really "forbidden", here are two examples. The first one was when I was about 10 years old my parents told me I could have one beer at the cottage during the summer time, all I had to do was ask. All they did after was remind me of my right once the summer started. I never did ask for one until the 3rd summer. My friends could not believe that I could actually ask for a beer, to me it was not a big deal.
Also, around the time I was 12 or 13 my Dad came home one day and had a pile of about 20 magazines he brought home from work that a few of his buddies enjoyed "reading"... they were all Playboy magazines, he brought them downstairs and said I could have a look and left them there. A week after viewing them I put them next to the fireplace (I did cut out one centerfold for safekeeping). When my friends found out about that they went nuts, again... no big deal for me.
My parents always say to their friends that I was an easy child to raise, I did not go through the so called "adolescent craze" ... maybe this has something to do with them being present, patient et participating in my childhood.
- ▼ 2009 (15)