Oh, how we grow up…

In the past three years, I have learned a lot about being a “grown up”. I definitely don’t feel like one but I definitely have the responsibilities of one. It’s a great combination. I get the freedom of being independent together with the creative freedom and playfulness of childhood. Something that has really stuck out is how I see my relationship with my parents. When I was younger (possibly as near as 3 years ago) I thought my parents were dopes. Who were they to tell me what was right? How do they know? You know, teenage angsty stuff. At around the time I started going to college, I started to change my mind about my parents. They didn’t go to college, they don’t quite have my cultural background, and a whole slew of other things that we differ on. However different or “stupid” my parents had been in the past, I saw it then in a new light. They were giving me advice that made sense. It was my lack of life-experience, not theirs, that blinded me. The more I thought about my relationship with them the more I thought about a quote by Mark Twain.

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

When we’re young we have a way of reacting to our parents decisions and ways. It’s interesting how leaving the home lets you understand more clearly what it was your parents were telling you.

On a side note, I’m not sure the quote is wholly applicable to me. Twain seems to assume that most people will not realize that it is s/he who has grown much smarter and not their parents. I think he is right in his assessment, but he is also correct in that we, as kids and teenagers, don’t see the bigger picture our parents were pushing for.

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2 responses to “Oh, how we grow up…

  1. sup dude. it’s brudd. nice piece, or ‘byte’ rather.

    i think the twain quote actually says what you mean, in an ironic way. my take: the writer unwittingly took 7yrs to see what was already there. very few 14 year olds aren’t ignorant. and most old people change very little compared to kids from 14-21. so the writer likely grew up at 21 and noticed the old man’s wisdom, but assumed that the dad didn’t have it before.

    for example, a blind man who is 30 gets new eyes and looks at the ocean: ‘astonishing! look at all that water! how’d it get there in just 30 years?!’ it was always there!

  2. What I took from it was that the writer was a bit narcissistic or self-indulgent(?). He’d rather suppose his father has grown rather than think that he was ignorant. But I see your point.

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