Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Naming Things..or People

This is a Google pic

I often think one ought to think twice before giving some things a 'name'.  For example, one of my grandchildren exhibits certain personality traits which make me think she might have a touch of 'Asperger's'.  However, at not yet three, she is changing all the time and I am thinking rather that she is simply somewhere on the continuum of extrovert/introvert/A type personality on a level that is not familiar to me in my own children. My son once gave me a Personality questionnaire of the kind used by the big corporates as part of their screening processes.  Apparently, there are 17 main personality types! Perhaps in today's world we are often in danger of being blinded by science and thus inclined to look for problems where none exist. In a similar vein,  our neighborhood has its share of 'vagrants' who scavenge through  (or merely look through?) our dirt bins on a Thursday morning. If I just think of them as "people without jobs", I find I am much more sympathetic to their plight. When I got married, I found it difficult to call my new in-laws 'mom and dad' as they wanted. In the end, I got around the problem by finding similar-sounding appellations which were different from what I called my own parents. My sister-in-law advises that I get used to having my own in-law children call me Mom, because it helps to reinforce the idea that I should think of them and treat them like my own. To this day, I am sorry that my own mother told my new husband very firmly when we got married 34 years ago, "You can call him H.. and me Mrs M.." I've tried to be kinder to my children's mates.

8 comments:

  1. I think in the US we are far too quick to find predefined categories for children and herd them into educational chutes, like a cattle feedlot, that will predetermine the child's trajectory for the rest of their life. Little boys are full of piss and vinegar and are not real good at sitting in class and listening to a teacher at 5 years of age like girls are. "Oh my God, he has ADH, ADD, ABC, dysfunctional this or dysfunctional that." Start a drug program and straiten him out. Sorry I don't buy that crap. There are two very good books about children that explain a lot of their behavior and how we as a society are providing a huge disservice to our children with our labels and educational trajectories.

    http://www.amazon.com/Boys-Adrift-Epidemic-Unmotivated-Underachieving/dp/0465072100/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1333464209&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Edge-Girls-Sexual-Cyberbubble-Environmental/dp/B004H8GL4U/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3

    I never solved that Mom/Dad thing either. Even though, or quite possibly because, I liked my in-laws better than my own parents, I never could bring myself to call them mom and dad. I was a childhood chum of their oldest son and they were often more of a family to me than my own which was heavily involved in my father's drinking and my mother battling him. But even after I got very chummy with their youngest daughter (she at the age of 21 and me at 25 so it wasn't like I robbed the cradle) I found it very difficult to call them mom and dad. They were better than those titles, and I maintained our childhood nick names for them.

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    1. It's really really interesting finding out more about you, Sextant. I confess I was more upset at my mother-in-law's passing than my own mother. Mom-in-law just loved me as I am: I always felt I never came up to my own mom's expectations. We were never close.

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    2. You can pick your in-laws (well at least the ones you have the right to vote for) but you are pretty much stuck with what nature gave you as far as parents go. My parents in their own way were loving, but my father couldn't put the bottle down and my mother's job on this earth was first to drive him to drink with her fighting him tooth and nail, and after he died to hate my wife. What right did a mortal woman (with dark desires) have to marry her perfect son? Of course there was a lot of resentment to her family. My mother couldn't quite comprehend that I might enjoy a family that behaved like a typical American suburban family instead of a war zone. She hated my wife and resented my wife's family to the day she died. Even though I loved my mother, because she was my mother, I came to dislike her the older I got. It is an odd mixture to love and dislike someone at the same time.

      And your mother?

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  2. Pretty much the same. She never liked my husband or his family - I think mainly because marrying him caused me to live on the other side of the world. Her loss. She did come and visit us and then tried to stop my husband from accompanying us to the shops etc. I'll never forget she said to him, "I've come to visit my daughter, not you." As you say, I loved her because she was my mother. I wrote her a glowing eulogy when she died, lauding all her accomplishments and good points and said that she would be missed. I didn't say a word about love though.

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    1. is it not tragic that parents some times can not recognize the autonomy and honor the choices of their children? Indeed a parent has the right to caution their adult child about a potentially bad mate. But one would think that by the time you have logged 30 years of a good marriage that your parents could accept your choice.

      A constant topic of conversation with my mother would start out with "You know, I have never particularly cared for your wife." No shit Ma? Anyhow she started one of her diatribes one time and I asked her, "And why is that Ma? Is it because my wife doesn't know how to be married...she has never found a reason to hit me with a cast iron skillet or chase me with a butcher knife?" Well it was stupid of me to think that was going shut her up. She got pissed and started screaming all this vile and nasty bullshit. I got pissed off stormed out of the place and didn't talk to her for 3 months.

      While it is easy to blame my mother for being an unreasonable bitch, but I feel my cowardice to firmly put her in place when I was young was not only a disservice to my wife, but also to my mother. It was just a hell of lot easier to avoid her or change the subject rather than to stand up to her and try to reason with her. Unfortunately I was always a rather spineless bastard when it came to dealing with my mother. It is one of my regrets in life.

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  3. I was absolutely the same..always mute in my mother's presence. The only time I wasn't I poured my heart out to her in a letter. She then didn't speak to me for a year. The good thing about that was that my father wrote regularly instead. I always thought he should have kept her in line sometimes but he never did. In the end, my mother wrote and told me she had answered my letter - and left it to me in her will! When she died and I found the letter, I destroyed it without reading.

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    1. Never read it! Interesting. Why didn't you read it? A final act of defiance? Fear of what it said? You shall not haunt me from the grave?

      Hmmm! I think I understand. If she couldn't say what ever it was while she was alive, and you could respond, then why give the opportunity to have the last word. Very good. I think I would have caved in. Curiosity would have got the best of me.

      Do tell, I am curious.

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    2. Your second theory is correct. I wanted so much to fix things between us when she was alive!

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