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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Take time to listen to parents’ stories

Stereotypical parents are always on your back, nagging you to get good grades or to call your grandparents. They are over-protective and embarrass you in front of your friends. And, most of all, they never seem to understand your side of the story.

In high school, I thought my parents fit into all of these stereotypes, especially the last one. They were never as involved in sports as I was, and they weren’t living in an age of technology and high-speed communication. So how could they have understood a 21st century high schooler?

Since I left for college last year, they remained stereotypical parents. They were still trying to control my life, only with less success because I lived 400 miles away. One of the reasons I chose to attend Marquette was because the distance would allow me to be more independent.

Thanks to the distance and time spent away from them, I experienced a liberated life and came to realize why they were always nagging me and trying to protect me from drugs and promiscuous boys. These things I learned for myself, so I could stay on track with school and be respectful toward myself and others.

It wasn’t until I spent some quality time with my mom last Thursday, however, that I fully realized my parents do understand my side of the story — and always have.

She picked me up at Marquette, and we went to Madison to see the Weepies concert — a pop-folk band based out of California. My mom and I danced together at the concert and joined in the Halloween festivities on Madison’s pedestrian State Street afterward.

It was a fun night, but what especially made the night a blast was hanging out with my mom as if she were a friend. We told each other about parts of our lives we would only talk to our friends about. She listened to me, and I listened to her.

My mom lived a very different life, but it turns out her experiences growing up are very applicable to my life. As a young woman around my age, she wasn’t completely sure of where she was going with her life, but she kept studying and following her heart. The times she felt lost were the times she learned the most about herself. It was reassuring to hear what she was saying because I feel I am currently in the same position.

In past years, we never had these conversations because our relationship was different — she was more of a mom than a friend I could relate to.

She didn’t tell me certain things in high school because she knew I wouldn’t be able to relate until I was in college and leading my own life. Take money, for example. My parents didn’t want me to worry about my family’s financial situation in high school, but I learned all about it when I had to start paying for college.

Maybe she has known me all along, but it has been a long journey for me to understand her. I never took the time to get to know her when I was younger because I was so involved with my friends, school and sports. As children, we are very self-involved and don’t think to question our parents’ stories.

I am so happy I have gotten to know my mom as someone other than my mom — as a friend. She is beautiful, wise, perfectly imperfect and loves me unconditionally. Even though she will continue to nag me and embarrass me in front of my friends, at least I know she understands me.

Get to know your own parents as people. You will be surprised at how much they understand you and how wise they are.

If this is impossible, get to know your grandparents or other older relatives simply as friends. Have them tell you about your parents and what they were like at your age.

You won’t regret it.

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Comments (4)

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  • J

    JoanneNov 4, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I have to say some of this sounds insulting to Mom..but it also could sound insulting to the kid being so ignorant and stuck on themselves …it certainly makes me think a lot and brings out many emotions.

  • S

    SarahNov 3, 2010 at 11:42 am


    You are an amazing person and writer. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

  • C

    CherylNov 3, 2010 at 10:03 am

    You have touched all of us, too! My life is better for knowing you. love from us all, Cheryl

  • J

    JoanneNov 3, 2010 at 8:17 am

    You have touched and changed my heart forever for the better!…love, Mom