There’s a Native American belief that before we are born, we choose our parents. It actually ties in pretty nicely with the reincarnation idea that we prearrange certain circumstances before each life so as to learn different lessons. Either way, our parents teach us so much more than they ever mean to. Through their choices, circumstances, faults, talents and ability to show their love and support, they mold us. If life is a rat race, then our folks determine what we come out of the starting blocks with.
The gifts they give us are so much more than biological. Yeah, there’s the basics of whether or not you go through life as pretty, ugly, or just sort of plain looking. I don’t have to tell you that physical looks, athletic abilities, and general health definitely effect how we go through life. Our parents can decide whether or not we’re deformed or mentally challenged by deciding to create alcohol syndrome or drug addicted babies. And they genetically predispose us to various future challenges, like breast cancer or heart disease. Other than by taking care of our bodies with proper rest and nutrition while growing up, there isn’t a whole lot that they can do about most of the physical characteristics they pass along to us.
Most of us are average, that’s what average means. So most of us inherit average bodies with average talents and average health. So what does it matter who we choose as our parents? For proof, just look at the people who were raised by adopted parents or those who were raised in blended step-families. Their biology isn’t really what comes to mind when we look at the gifts and challenges they received from their ‘folks.’
Our parents – whether biological, adopted, or stepparents – determined what our environment would be while growing up. They chose our financial health, spiritual health, educational health, social health, and mental health. They may have consciously sat down and made the decisions and acted on them, or they may have paid no attention whatsoever to how those things would turn out. Many parents are themselves uneducated or unhealthy in some of these areas and don’t even know that there were other choices to be made. It’s not always intentional, what they chose. Either way, they made choices that determined all of those things for us.
It’s really easy if we had blessed childhoods to give thanks to our parents for making wonderful choices on our behalf. If we believe in that theory that we choose our parents before birth, then we can nod and say, “Yep, I certainly did pick some winners! Sure am glad I picked those two as my parents. They supported me in everything I ever wanted to do and paid for my music lessons and never stopped loving me no matter what!”
But what if you were one of those kids whose childhood sucked? Was your dad an alcoholic? Was your mom the queen of guilt trips? Was your dad the overachiever who pressured you to carry on his legacy? Was your mother a gold digger hopping from one wealthy man to the next, never really paying attention to you? Were your folks ignorant and uneducated, not having a clue that you were a bored genius with nobody to talk to? Did they make choices constantly based on themselves instead of their children? Were they artists who got so carried away in the creative process that they’d forget you existed at times? Whatever the story, you get the idea. You may or may not love your folks, but you know that if you had it to do over again you certainly wouldn’t have picked those two people to be in charge of your early years. The last thing you want to hear is that you might have chosen that upbringing for yourself.
Shift gears with me here, for just a minute. Look into yourself and tell me what you are most proud of. Is it your tenacity? Your ability to pick yourself up and carry on no matter what? Your moxie? Your incredible ability to read other people and know just how to reach out and help them? Your artistic ability to create music that sings to the soul of the lonely and uplift them for just a minute? Your incredible work ethic? Your own ability to really be present and in the moment with your own kids? Sit for a moment and look at the incredible strength and amazing traits that you created for yourself despite your parents.
If I had been the spoiled pampered princess I wanted to be, I would never be able to write for you today. It’s because I come from a broken home that I know how important true loving connection is regardless of whether the original two parents are the ones raising you or not. It’s because I was under the impression that I was abandoned that I found out how to be strong and independent and no longer clingy and needy. I wouldn’t have the pride and self assurance that I can overcome anything life throws at me if I had always had the safety net of family to fall back on. Look into your own life. Would you be the amazing person you are today if you had been raised with a silver spoon and ideal parents?
Initially when we begin our healing process, we can identify what particular flavor of ‘screwed up’ we are and who’s fault it is that we turned out that way. Continuing on the path of healing, we get to a place where we can forgive those who helped create the mess that we became. Finally, we come to realize what a blessing it was that we got to go through that particular journey and to learn those particular lessons and to gain those particular tools and gifts as a result. Then we can be grateful that we chose the parents we did.
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