Parenting and The Facts of Life

Danny Thomas

By: Danny Thomas

strong girl

For many of my generation there is an iconic lyric…
A refrain from a piece of pop culture that has become so universal
And such an influence that the words have taken on the status of a proverb…
I’m sure the sentiment, and versions of the adage go back to the dawn of time.
But for us… those of us raised with T.V. in the ‘80’s…

“You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have… The Facts of Life…”

…is a philosophy unto itself… beyond Mrs. Garret and the girls – the good and the bad really are the facts of life…

It’s a nice little jingleized version of yin and yang… It seems trite – but there is a reason that it is so ubiquitous…

Its true.

And it’s a concept that the universe has been asking me to spend some time with lately…

So much about living in love seems to be learning to take all of those things together… and asking, hoping that, those around you take the good and bad in you…

For a variety of reasons over the last month I have found myself wondering if familial love is really just a version of Stockholm Syndrome… sometimes just by virtue of proximity we feel tortured by our families… and I am certain at times my family members feel tormented by my mere presence, let alone when I am on a tirade.

At the same time I feel so grateful for the joy and generosity, the compassion and support I feel.
The network of encouragement and sustenance I feel from and with my loved ones could not be overrated.

Family life is but one of the many contexts that I have found myself wondering about this balance… wondering about “…The Facts of Life…”
So many parts of life ask us to equalize in this way; work, the weather, geography, car ownership, home ownership, having pets, technology… I could go on and on.

All these things bring so many benefits…
And trials.

Taking the good with the bad…

If you are supposed to take the bad with the good… where do you draw the line?
When do you say I need more good stuff to balance out all these bummers?
When do you say… I could stand to be a little gentler, patient and generous… these people put up with a lot of grouchy, impatient, unfocused messing around…?

With some things… It’s pretty cut and dried… cars, weather, geography…

But with so many other things there is no tally, no scorecard…
No clear lines or boundaries.

Hoping that the 83 minutes of joy and laughter at the hockey game at least balanced out the 10 minute diatribe about the dangers of running around the bleachers “with your toddler sister trailing behind…”

And having faith, on my side, that the joy they take in a trip to the library or a bike ride to the park… the strength and joy I see in them is feeding my heart and soul in a way that the whining and bickering can not drain.

I guess… it’s a constant shell game… trying to catch that Good, knowing it when you see it, and soaking as much out of it as you can.

Knowing that the bad is just as fleeting, that it will pass.

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