21 Sep Bringing Up Parents (JORGE & DEMIAN BUCAY)
Literature (like daily life) is full of stories about people who treat othersintolerably, as if they were their children. Husbands, wives, friends, bosses,neighbors, and government leaders blur the lines of their roles, believing theyhave the right to ‘adopt’ others as they would a child. Naturally, this almost al-ways leads to the ‘adoptee’ avoiding them at all costs.In his book, Bringing Up Parents, Alex J. Packer, a specialist in the field ofeducation, suggests an exercise that seems tailor-made to demonstrate thissituation. We’ve adapted it here for our readers.Imagine that some friends invite you over for dinner. They’re a marriedcouple and instead of behaving as you’d expect, they treat you and your partner
as though you were their children.The hostess’s name is Susana. She opens the door and the first thing shesays is, “Listen, we’ve been sitting here waiting for you. You were supposed toarrive at 9:00 and now it’s 9:30. Don’t you think you should have let us knowyou were going to be late?”“Yes … we were running behind schedule,” you and your partner say as anapology.“It’s fine,” Susana says, “but don’t let it happen again.”When you follow her into the dining room, she goes up to your partner asthough to confess something and whispers in her ear, “Don’t you think thatblouse shows too much cleavage for someone your age? I’m just telling youbecause people talk. Who knows what they’ll say if they see you in it — ”“I … uh … I thought that — ”“All right,” Susana’s husband Mario cuts in. “The food’s almost ready. Goeasy on the starters or you’ll spoil your appetite and won’t eat any meat.”
You feel yourself choke on the last piece of salami as Susana takes chargeagain. She rubs her hands together as though enjoying the moment and says,“Tell us something about yourselves.”The two of you look at each other in shock and then, to keep up appear-ances, you say, “Well … we’re thinking about taking a trip to Prague — ”“To Prague!? Are you crazy?” Susana says. “Do you have any idea howcold it is at this time of year? And what about the Russian Mafia?”“That’s right,” Mario says, backing her up, though he’s not entirely con-vinced. “Besides, considering the way things are going in the country and thefact that, let’s be honest, you don’t earn all that much, don’t you think it wouldbe better to put the money into a savings account? Then it’ll be there in case ofemergency. That’s my two cents. But you can do whatever you want. After all,you’re the ones who are going to make things difficult for yourselves.”After a night like that, you and your partner would probably think twice be-fore going over to Mario’s and Susana’s house again, wouldn’t you say?
And yet there’s no need to remind ourselves how often parents treat theirchildren this way, and what’s more, hope they’ll appreciate it, like it, and thank them for it.
OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN
JORGE & DEMIAN BUCAY