At our last grandparents meeting, the topic was “Letting Go of Our Adult Children.” This led us to a spirited discussion of our own parents and how they parented us. We felt that it was very much a part of the topic, because not only do we have to let our children grow up in their own way, we also have to let go of our own parents to become the realized people that we are.
Our grandparents’ generation was a product of the Depression. Their goal was to see that their children “had it better” – food, clothing, and job security. After World War II, parents wanted their children to have a better life than they had, and thought they could achieve this through higher education and acquiring material things. This generation wants their children to be safe and accomplished; they move at a much faster pace due to new technologies. The stress level is much higher today due to economic pressures and social and world insecurities.
Our generation had to let go of what we sometimes thought of as petty tyranny and parental control of our every action. Some of us were never really able to do that. We have a friend in her eighties who constantly blames her mother for her own faults. Amazing but true. What do we need to become fully formed adults and to be our best selves? We need to let go. We need to have the ability to see ourselves realistically and not be a pastiche of what others want us to be; not our parents’ vision nor our own childrens’ vision. We just need to be us!