Friday, September 9, 2011

The Guilt is All Mine, Folks

I realized after re-reading my last post that I left something out.  Or maybe I didn't leave it out, I just simplified it to the point that it may have misrepresented something.  See, while my parents were crazy-strict when I was growing up, I've come to realize that they were actually strict about most of the right things. 

I wasn't allowed to go to parties.  I wasn't allowed to go out with a guy unless he called my dad first and asked for permission to take me out.  I had a curfew, strictly enforced.  I was still required to attend family functions and things for my sisters.  I had to dress modestly and I wasn't allowed to have my own car.  I had to go to church and to youth group and, up until I was seventeen and started taking classes at the local community college, I still had to go to homeschooling events.  I also had to help out around the house and make dinner a couple times a week.

But there were a lot of things they weren't that strict about.  My parents let me work and they bought an old beater car I was allowed to use as long as they knew where I was going and who I was with.  I was still allowed to go on dates, as long as it was with a guy who asked my dad and as long as I was home on time.   And not having my own car allowed me to have my own money to do stuff with my friends, as well as save for a trip I took to Spain after I graduated.  I never look back and wish I'd been a partier or dressed like a slut or skipped out on time with my family or been saddled with a car payment at sixteen.

My parents were strict, but not in a bad or over-the-top way, despite how I might have felt about it growing up.  And, while they did raise us in a very conservative environment, I've realized over the past few years that they were just doing what they thought was best at the time.  I never remember either of my parents telling me that I had to believe a certain way to gain their approval or to be a real Christian.  Most of the attitudes and beliefs I talked about walking away from in my previous post were more from the environment and the groups and the church than they were directly from my parents.  I think I used to think of my parents as much more conservative than they actually are, just based on the groups we associated with during those years. 

I wrote a post about my mother's example a long time ago (that you can read here), which I was thinking about after spending time with my parents over the holiday weekend.  Both of my parents have always set a good example of how to treat others and be responsible and work hard and they are the most generous people I know.  So, while I have to acknowledge and discard some of the baggage I have from my formative years, I have to thank my parents for being the kind of people who would never make me feel guilty for doing so.  The guilt is all mine, folks.

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