Friday, June 10, 2011

A fabulous view of parenting

Recently my 13 year old and I have gotten into Glee. Yes, a bit late, but we just never caught it during Season 1, then Season 2 was halfway over before we knew it. Between Netflix and Hulu, though, we're now caught up. One of my favorite parts of the series is the relationship between Kurt, and openly gay teenage boy, and his straight father Burt. They are as opposite as it gets. Burt is a mechanic, beer drinking and baseball cap wearing, sports-loving man. Kurt sings, loves fashion and musicals, and dishes about boys with his girl friends at sleepovers.

But since Kurt came out to his dad (whose response was "I always knew that."), Burt has been so supportive of his son. He's shielded Kurt from crank phone calls, stood up for him with the school when bullying occured, and then he and his new wife used the money put aside for their honeymoon to pay for private school when the bully made a death threat against Kurt. No questions asked. He has been the kind of father I wish every teenager could have - gay or straight.

Yesterday I read an interview with Mike O'Malley, the actor who portrays Burt.  The interviewer brings up how Burt is dealing with Kurt being gay realistically, in a way not usually seen on television. I loved his response and think it applies to parenting in general, to every child.
I think what’s the hardest thing for parents is to understand that their children are not just there to be improved versions of themselves. They’re individuals with individual drives, with individual fates if you believe in that sort of thing, with individual needs that have nothing to do with who you are as a parent. You have to get out of the way sometimes, but I think what you always fall back on, and I know this because I’m a parent of three children myself, is that you fall back on the idea that, okay, if you love these kids and you’ve lived, for the most part, a good life, then when they fall upon hard times or they struggle at times you can be someone who can be a lighthouse in a sense for them. ‘Avoid these rocks. Avoid these shoals over here. Steer yourself away from behavior or friends or influences that can harm you as much as you can, but I’m right here and I’m always going to be here for you.’
I think we do forget sometimes that our children, even though they come from us, are not us. I know I have a hard time with this sometimes. I've been so used to knowing everything my daughter has done, thought, and felt, that it's uncomfortable for me to not know what she's talking about with her friends or with *gasp* boys. But I just have to remind myself that she is a good kid, she knows right from wrong, and she is a strong person. It is still important to me to keep the communication lines open with her, and I am thankful every day that we have such a good relationship. It is still difficult to let go, though, and let her be her own person. And she is very much her own person. But no matter what happens as she gets older, I will always love her and will always be there for her. I'm her mother - that's my job! And I wouldn't have it any other way.

1 comment:

  1. Love this. I have wondered where Finn's mom/Kurt's Dad's new wife has been during all of this. But I haven't caught every episode so maybe there's been an explanation. I do love the realism in Kurt's Dad's responses and concern.