A few days ago, I heard a parent yelling at her 5 year old kindergartner. “Stop crying! Back in my day, I used to walk to school alone, and I didn’t have my mother drop me off and take care of my crying business!”

The little kid, hurt and torn, then waited quietly in the gym for the school bell to ring.

I hear that more often that I’d like to hear. What happened with me back in my day is my memory, my circumstances. It isn’t my kid’s fault. It is also not fair to expect my child to go through what I went through, good or bad, because the times have changed. If I walked to school alone at age 5-6, it’s probably because I could do so without getting hit by a drunk driver or a mad rush. If I had only 4 outfits in my closet it’s probably because that’s all my parents could afford. If I didn’t watch any TV it’s because darn it, there weren’t any shows for kids and there was only one TV in the neighborhood. And the list goes on. And if everything was so perfect way back in my day, I would be the most amazing person with absolutely no flaws…and we all know that’s not possible, is it now?

So then is it fair to repeatedly take our children on guilt trips? It was my trip, not theirs. Why let my not so savvy parenting present itself in a barbaric manner? Why must my children suffer because I have not been able to handle that project that was due last week or because I had an argument with my spouse earlier this morning?

It is one thing to share stories of our childhood with our children…in fact, it’s an amazing way to bond with our kids. But just because I drank water from a well isn’t justification for slamming at them for drinking treated water.

The goal is to enhance our kids life, make it a bit better than what ours was, enable them to make good decisions, expose them to the world as we see it today. And it isn’t that I’m not guilty of telling my kids that I knew how to make roti at age 11…but as soon as I say that, I realize that it would have made no difference in my life if I had learned it at 18 instead. :)