Jan 29, 2010

The role of parents

There are many things that R has taught me about life and many new experiences that he has shared with me.  One new habit I have picked up from him is a love of news radio. 

Let me explain.  For the last 3 decades (!!) I have been convinced that complete silence and darkness (confession, I gave up my night light a little later than the average child) are the only conditions conducive to good sleep.  R is the opposite.  He likes a bit of light and the radio.  And not just any radio, AM news channels.  So it was an awkward first few months where I struggled to get to sleep with the chatter of news and the rustle and interference of AM transmission.

Over the years though, the frequent exposure has now become a habit.  I now look forward to listening to the news before I sleep.  We listen to ABC, NPR and the BBC.  I appreciate the range of topics and the commentary so much now that I download the podcasts when I can and listen on the bus. 

This long introduction is meant to be a segue into the actual topic of this post.  What it means to be a parent.  A topic I have contemplated for some years now, I am indebted to my parents for their love, sacrifices and effort.  I could not be the person I am today without them.  R and I's plans to start a family have made me think a little deeper about this role.

It so happened that some of the recent BBC radio interviews have been with talented young adults whose parents have been a shaping force in their careers. 

Serena Williams' interview was inspiring.  She spoke of her father's ambition for his daughters and also her mother's equal efforts.  The push of both parents working together to propel the children forward.  However, the push was measured, it was not selfish, it was motivation and direction in a sport these girls wanted to play.  The girls were never pushed into the sometimes deceitful world of the competitive childrens' tennis circuit.  There was also an emphasis in their childhoods on religion, respect and a formal education.  A balanced and holisitic approach.

The second interview was with a South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius who had both his legs ampuated below the knee at a young age.  His parents sheltered him from nothing and he was exposed to the rough and tumble of a 'South African childhood'.  He was always treated the same as his brother and sister and the emphasis was on a 'normal' childhood in a school for 'able bodied' children.  This young man has grown up to be a fine athlete and also a crusader for the provision of limb prostheses in South Africa.

These stories inspire me for our future family and also resonate with the upbringing my parents gave me.  I love you mum and dad.  I owe you everything and wouldn't be here if it weren't for you.

On a lighter note
 Our clock radio (with Tigger, taken at some ungodly time on a Saturday morning) - steadfastly AM and no sign of a digital radio.  The occasional static is somewhat comforting.

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