Whistling in the Dark

by Emilia Diamant

When I read mom’s last post, the first paragraph struck me:

“As a young parent, I assumed my daughter would grow up to become a dog person the way I assumed she’d grow up to be a feminist, politically progressive and glad to be Jewish. As an older parent, I realize that I was whistling in the dark.”

What I paused on was that she wasn’t sure this would happen. I understand that, as a parent, you never truly have full control over how your kid(s) turn out. There are LOTS of factors at play. But, Mom’s checklist is pretty spot on:

Feminist (x)

Progressive (xxx)

Glad to be Jewish (x)

Dog person (xxxxxxxxxx) 

In my late 20s, I attribute these things (and a host of others) to being raised by my parents, in Boston, in a specific time period. My parents infused Judaism and politics into dinner table conversations, participated in communal activities on a regular basis, and always taught me that equity is important and worth fighting for.

It makes me giggle a little to think that I could be anything put a progressive feminist Jew who loves dogs (and baseball). But now that I work as an educator, I understand the parental wishes that may not be fulfilled. Kids become whoever they are going to be–of course they are shaped by their parents, peers, teachers, media–but so much is left up to chance. My parents shaped me in so many ways, but at the end of the day I’ve become who I am supposed to be. Well, for now at least.

I guess I hope the same things for my kids, when I have them someday. And I’ll have to remember what my mom wrote–it’s all whistling in the dark.

But one thing I know for sure. My children will NEVER be Yankee fans.

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