Getting it Right

family

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if you’re getting it right or not. This thought was going through Jack’s mind as he looked around the cabin in one of those moments of boredom one experiences on a 17 hour flight. He glanced at his daughter who’d been staring out the window for some time at clouds far below. It looked like boredom was mutually felt, conversation having been exhausted long before.

It was impossible to know what was going through her mind at this time. With High School finished she was en-route to four years of college in the US, half a world away from her family. Her face registered no emotion as Jack glanced anxiously at her. He would get her settled, but then she was on her own until next vacation. How would she handle the rough and tumble of College in an unfamiliar land?

Lives are absorbed in routine day to day activities, and occasional bumps that come our way. We sometimes fail to grasp how important family connections are, and how these connections impact each life in a positive or negative way. It needs time, proximity and dedication to make family relationships work.

Humans have been programmed for social interaction. When this is denied it can lead to disfunctionality. The world is littered with broken people who’ve ceased to function effectively because they’ve been denied nurture and encouragement from family members and close associates.

These depressing thoughts whirled around in Jack’s head as he sat fidgeting in his seat. In teen years parents wonder about many things. They wonder if they’ve adequately prepared their children during early years for the get real rough ride ahead. They see their children beginning to challenge positions held by parents as absolutes. Parents wonder if they’ve been successful in balancing work and recreation activities so family bonding is strengthened. They wonder what kind of impression these developing adults carry with them as they’ve observed parents during those impressionable years.

Thinking these thoughts was too much for Jack; he had to settle his doubts. Turning to his daughter he broke the silence with a question.

“You’ve spent your growing up years following us as we went from one job location to another, from one country to another. If you’d been able to plan your future for yourself what kind of growing up environment would you have chosen?”

The girl turned to face her Father in surprise; then glanced out the window mulling Jack’s question over in her head.

Finally she turned to Jack and smiled. “There were difficult times as we adjusted to new friends and new places.” She paused and glanced out the window again.

Jack waited anxiously as he watched his daughter process her thoughts.

“If I had the power to see my future and compare it with other possible scenarios I’d make the same decisions you’ve chosen for us.

Jack sat back in his seat with a sigh of relief. He knew his daughter was being generous with her remarks but it was what he needed to hear. He picked up his book with the satisfied look of a Father who was now convinced his daughter would handle her future life adjustments satisfactorily.

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2014 All rights reserved”

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Madhu says:

    I can imagine your nomadic life could not have been easy on the children. But the exposure to different cultures must have been enriching as well. I am almost sure your daughter was not just being generous Ian 🙂

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    1. Thank you Madhu. I’m really impressed with your travels and the wealth of knowledge you bring to your blogs. Particularly loved the photos and descriptions of your grandfather’s place. I love those scenes in India. The 20 years spent there were difficult ones because of the travel but years I treasure and the friends made there remain. I enjoyed my other world travels but with the rapidity and concentrated effort of each it has left its mark health wise today. I believe the exposure to different cultures did give my girls an advantage. They have done well for themselves as they live with their families in the US.

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  2. susanai says:

    Knew you were ‘dad’. Nice story.

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    1. My cover has been blown Sue! lol

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  3. Jane Thorne says:

    This is so ‘you’ Ian and I loved the relationship between ‘Jack’ ( or maybe Ian) and his daughter. You perfectly captured the vexing questions that parents grapple with. Loving communication gives us the compass points don’t they? Thank you for this post. x

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    1. OK, I admit it! Maybe Jack has some connection. lol

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  4. borika45b says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion you are Jack. Loved the whole article, felt like I was in the plane watching dad and daughter.

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    1. Shush! It’s our little secret Barb. lol

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  5. Mags Corner says:

    Sadly I know very few fathers and daughters who have a relationship as wonderful as the one in this writing sweet Ian. It makes me happy to know there are more than I know about. A lot of families I know have at least one child that took the wayward path no matter how well the parents did in getting them prepared for flying on their own and being successful as adults. Some children just grow up and do the unexpected that leave some of us parents wondering forever why but there is just no explanation sometimes. Reading this story has me again believing that no matter what parents do sometimes the genes just take over. Still liking all your stories very much, most of them get me thinking. and at my age I need to do a lot of that. : ) Hugs!

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    1. I guess I’m heading too rapidly for the big 8 O myself. lol. We as parents are only responsible for providing nurture and support to our children as they grow to adulthood. They have the power of choice to decide on the path they take, and while parents will naturally be hurt by bad choices they make in life parents who have given them love and support are not responsible for their choices. We all know of parents who pose the question, “what did I do wrong?” They did nothing wrong, their adult children did!

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  6. Fathers and daughters have unique relationships, they share special bonds. You captured both the fears of the father and the generosity of the daughter perfectly. This was a lovely and introspective piece Ian. I think I see and hear pieces of you within.

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    1. My cover is blown! lol

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  7. jstansfeld says:

    I love this introspective piece which voices so many of the fears of many a loving, and hopefully, successful, parent. It seems that Jack did it right as did you and Eric and your other commentators. I am also blessed with children who are successful happy adults with wonderful children of their own growing up in the same mold. However, I wonder about those who don’t succeed. Is it always the, parent’s fault or is there another component and innateness which cannot be guided. I am reminded of the novel “The Good Father” by Noah Hawley. In it a dedicated father painfully explores this nagging question when his son goes off the rails and senselessly assassinates a celebrity.

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    1. No of course it’s not always the parents fault. Genes and environment are a powerful factor, but in the final analysis its the fact that humans have a unique gift of choice. Most times the choice is made during teen years and parents are not always aware of what is happening as they do. The flip side of the coin is that children with bad parents can make good choices too, and I know people who have made a success in spite of bad genes, threatening environments and bad parents. The tragedy is when children who are basically good make a fateful decision that follows them through life even when they turn their lives around again. As parents we can only do the best we can to nurture and prepare our children for the dangerous adventure of life.

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  8. Eric Alagan says:

    Good Lord, Ian

    I believe ‘Jack’ and I had identical experiences.

    You captured the very scene I shared with my eldest daughter, when I accompanied her in January 2010 to Brisbane to get her settled for uni – she had enrolled in medical school. My son followed in 2011 when he left to live and work in New York City. But he went solo and did all right in locating an apartment, etc.

    The big difference was, we did not move but lived in Singapore throughout but I was away on business trips – quite often 3 weeks of a month.

    Genuine love and the ability to loosen the reel helps keep them tethered to family binds, I reckon.

    You gave words and voice to my experience.

    Thank you,
    Eric

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    1. I have felt we were on the same length from the beginning of our friendship.

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  9. billgncs says:

    I think we all wonder if we did right by the kids, and hopefully they spread their wings and fly.

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    1. We used to have family counsels regularly in which we discussed their problems and problems which affected the family they could be expected to contribute to. It was rather cool when they were small, but as they got to teenage years they pretended to find it a bore. lol. With all the travel and moves we had to make during our overseas years they had a chance to grow and make individual decisions for themselves. Fortunately they have made good choices for their husbands and their own careers and love and nurture their children. That gives us great satisfaction.

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      1. billgncs says:

        Sounds like they had love, which is the mortar for almost every other thing.

        I think that kids need adventures, as you said a chance to make individual decisions for themselves.

        Sometimes we can take that away from them, thinking to protect them, but stifling them.

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      2. I totally agree with you

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  10. I forgot to mention the above image belongs to findfreegraphics.com

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