I’ve been thinking about parenting and the past.

I’ve been told that it is futile to live in the past and that we must move on.  Straight after this grand pronouncement and utter denial of the power of history to shape us and make us what we are we then returned to the past that had been moved on from.  Repeatedly.  At length.  Without end.

I like the idea of leaving the past behind and forging ahead bravely undaunted and resolute.  It’s a nice idea, a comforting aspiration of a totally clean slate and a brave new beginning.

And to me, a nice idea is all that is.  The past both good and bad has shaped me and will continue to shape me for the rest of my life.

If you truly ignore the past then there is no growth as there is no learning from experience, no basis of shared memories of joy and sorrow.

If you believe that your version of the past is the only version and that no other perspective or experience of that past is possible and that the past is fixed, preserved in amber for eternity then there is no room for compromise or empathy.

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That past is a daily death by a thousand cuts dabbed with lemon juice and wiped away with barbed wire.  There is no right of reply, no redemption and no room for error, human or otherwise.

The past has shaped me but it will not break me.  It will not be revisited upon my children or those I love.

I will not let my past become their future.

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