The Parents

You love your parents, or you should in an ideal world. They brought you into the world, raised you to the best of their abilities and taught you everything you needed to know to survive in this world. Well, that's the game plan people we expect from people with children, but...

My parents love me, there's no question about that, and it's good to assume they do unless they abuse you. Even then it is entirely possible that abusive parents love you, care about you, but just have a really messed up ide of how to show that love. I'm not going to talk about my experiences as the youngest son of 5 children, the one that was a "whoops," and is 12 tears younger than my next sibling. I am also not going to blame them for the way my life turned out, because frankly it turned out fairly well, albeit not stellar career-wise.

Parents get the messy end of the stick most of the time, even when they're as perfect and dedicated as possible, it happens that some (most) children have the impression that parents don't understand, when they actually do. don't worry, teenagers are programmed not to believe parents.

My father is the patient sort, he's kind and thoughtful. I think it's where my "nice guy" personality comes from. He's always ready to help others, do what he can to make things better for someone, including his family. He was always working when i was kid, I'd spend time at his shop, his typesetting business, I would be left to my own devices, playing, riding my bike and prentending/dreaming around the industrial mall. I felt useful when I was able to help, shooting some text for paste-up on the Headliner machine. This was the age of the phototypesetter, The few computers he had made loads of micro-confetti as they were fed or created punched paper-tape as the data source. Yes, before thumb-drives, there was magnetic media, but befor that there was paper. While this was not the extent of spending time with my Dad, this was likely the most memorable. I don't recall much prior to age 4, though pictures tell of great fun at the family cottage and Christmas.

Once I started school my mother went back to work, I think she resented this, but My Dad's company wasn't making as much money as he'd hoped and by the time I was 8 the company was shuttered, debts paid by the sale of that family cottage and life went on. My mother and father fought quite often, and I suspect I was to blame. I was not a good kid it seems. I was difficult, and... let's just say I paid for being special.

My mother...

A couple who loves each other should forgive each other... it's unfair that sometimes only one half of that forrmula has the capacity to, but this is a reality. To persist in denigrading a spouse over issues year over year is abuse, it is pushing someone to react and the only reactions that are acceptible are divorce or death. My father will eventually, it seems, choose to escape this abuse through his own death (natural causes). Then what will she do? Who will she use to bolster he own significance in the world? If she uses family, though she already assumes all men treat women like property, she will find herself very alone.

I'm a bad son... I know some of you are saying this, but you don't know her.

Don't assume i don't love her, I do. I simply wish she'd stop abusing my father's good nature. It was her need for control, her frustration with me that drove a wedge between my father and I when I was young. He was left to punish me because she couldn't eny more, she wasn't strong enough to hit the target when she needed to inflict pain out of frustration, anger, or resentment. Unlike my father I wouldn't endlessly accept abuse, perhaps this is why I ended my marriage. Perhaps I just don't enjoy conflict. And no, I do not expect complacency in a spouse or partner. I expect intelligence without greed. My idea of a relationship is that you both commit to making the other happy and support them, honestly, through life. You can be critical, constructively, and your intent is to make life, this crazy world, a little better for each other. You won't always agree, but you'll find common ground because that is what you will both seek.

I'm a parent... I'm sorry (to my children) that I couldn't have endured as my father has, but I am not him. I would have been divorced or in prison long ago if I'd remained... There's one other option, yes... giving up on your own self-respect and becoming a shell of yourself. That would be worse.


Going back to your roots, with humility.

Let's not consider this cliché, but I am sitting in my parents' basement at the very desk I did my homework on as a child, roughly 25-35 years ago, and I'm considering my options when it comes to career goals. I can tell you that while I had an unexpected and fortunate opportunity to play the role of a BlackBerry evangelist yesterday showing off my technical prowess and product knowledge, the reality of my employment situation is never far from my mind.

While I have to "irons in the fire" there's no telling if those either of those irons will become a horseshoe (a job). While I face the potential reality, I am also hopeful. I recognise in myself the capacity and potential to be a real asset to their technical staff. I have the skills and experience to really make a difference, and sooner or later someone will notice, though if later, they may recognise it in the seat of a GO or Brampton bus driver.

One must have humility in these times. The young must have all the high hopes and eagerness to get out there and replace the older generations, but there's no reason for the old guard to shuffle off quietly, they have a responsibility to share their war stories, admit their faults and inspire the young to be ethical and determined in their quest.

 I love talking to young people, though I do not feel old per sé. I'm 45 and I have a great deal to give. I have technical knowledge, workplace experience, sound ethics, and quite a bit of reality to share with the young folk so they will not make the mistakes, or will at least be more prepared than I have been. Many of my errors, career choices, began right at this desk, the first one being not going to college. I recognise now that going through a proper post-secondary institution, going to all of those classes and getting the degree is essential if you don't want your fall-back to be working at McDonald's. It's not that working there is a bad experience, it is simply a minimum wage role that is hard to survive on in this day and age. When you get older you must embrace humility, live with and on less.

(to be continued)