Attitude of Gratitude Day 11: Growing Up Weird

Childhood nostalgia - cheap!

Childhood nostalgia – cheap! (Photo credit: Brother O’Mara)








I am not saying I had the strangest upbringing ever. I am not one of Frank Zappa’s kids. I was not raised in a cult. My parents never held key parties (look it up) while we were upstairs. That said, I knew early on we were not like other families. The fact that my folks were so much younger than my friend’s parents was a starter. We also did not go to church. Dad was not into sports, while mom was (seriously, a big deal thirty years ago.) There was also the fact that we were pretty poor, though never destitute. In the eighties, being poor was one of the worst things you could be.

So overall, yeah, our family was not like others. We did not have church, as I said, but rather would sit in our living room listening to Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie and discuss social justice issues. Mom and dad flirted with New Age, TM, and all sorts of spiritual ideas. We were allowed to watch films other kids were not while being steered away from some stuff that “normal” parents had no problems letting their kids watch. In particular my folks had little problems letting us watch (mildly) sexually explicit programming while seriously limiting our exposure to violent programming.

I have to say, I honestly believe I turned out the better for all that. I would not be the socially conscious person I am today if not for all that. I might have grown up thinking love between consensual adults is bad while blowing people away half a world away is OK, so long as you are not really getting your hands dirty. I might be the sort of person who believes my view of the cosmos is the only path to salvation, rather than realize we have to find out on our own how to cope with the chaos, and that we each find a different path to doing so. In short, I may have grown up a narrow-minded cog in the machine.

Growing up in my family had its challenges. I would be lying if I said there were not times that I wished we could be normally, that I could be normal. Over all though, I am grateful. I honestly feel I came out a better person for it, and better yet, that I am willing to examine whether or not that is true because of it.





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