Are we hostages to our parents dreams?

As we are growing, we are taught by out parents that we need to succeed.  That we can be whatever we set our minds and hearts to.  That there is nothing that we cannot accomplish if we set our minds to.  In fact, at least in my time, parents even told us that we could be president… I am not sure that is something that many people see as a noble career these days, though.

I wonder, though.  How much of what they are telling us is to try to make up for what they were never able to accomplish in their lives.  Things that they wanted to achieve, but were unable or unwilling to try for.  Thusly holding us captive to their dreams, albeit most of the time this entirely unintentional.

For those of you out there that are parents, I think you know what I am talking about.  I also know that it is no bad reflection on parents for wishing this on your children.  My mother wanted these things for me, and I am sure still does… I am not, however, sure about my dad, but I have to think that both of them wished the best for me and hoped that my achievements in life would surpass theirs.  I would like to think that I have done a pretty good job of raising me or instilling in me a sense of purpose, discipline and right & wrong.

There is also the things we learn from our parents by watching them.  Through our lives we will watch out parents, as well as other adults around us, do both good and bad things.  We learn through that as well.

To return to the original question… Are you and I being held hostage to our parents dreams and aspirations?

My answer is Yes… to a point we are.  I think that throughout our years, from youth to old age, we continuously ask ourselves what our parents might think of what we are doing and where we have ended up in life.  Was it at least close to where they were hoping that we would be? Would they be proud of us?

I think that there is actually something magical about this, in a way.  Whether by design or by coincidence, we or they are creating a set of internal checks and balances that keep us heading in what we hope to be the right direction.  In a way they, our parents, our guiding us through our lives, even when, in the fullness of time, they are no longer with us.

As for the “hostage” portion of the question…  I think that is what I would call a “self imposed hostage crisis” for which we have no one to blame but our own sense of guilt and honor.  We all tend to be more critical of ourselves than are others and think that we are much more so than our parents are or were… even in our old age, we hope that they would be proud of what we have become.  So in that sense, we are holding ourselves hostage to their hopes and dreams.

I was inspired to write this piece after listing to a song by Mike and the Mechanics called The Living Years.  There is just some music that prompts me to deep thought, and they are one of those groups.  I encourage you to buy the CD and listen to the songs.  There is a lot there to motivate and to help you reflect.

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2 thoughts on “Are we hostages to our parents dreams?”

  1. Your comment at brought me here. Again you have very good observations about dreams and living up to our parents' expectations! I hope to learn more from you.


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