The Things My Parents Never Taught Me (Pt. I)
My dad migrated to the United Kingdom in the 60's, from a large family in Kenya with 5 brothers and a sister. His father (my gramps), was a military man, fought in WWII for the British, and a devout Sikh. They made the move together to England in hope of a better life. My mum was from a smaller family with only 2 siblings and left India at a young age. My parents had an arranged marriage, which seems to be relatively unheard of nowadays. Prior to their arranged marriage, they came to England with all sorts of high hopes, pipedreams, wacky ideas and ambitions.
They lived a humble lifestyle and I'd hear stories of them all piled into a house in England. It reminds me that the struggle was very real. Every day was early rises, late finishes, it was acceptable to have a low standard of living and racism was at a high.
I'm a Millennial, an 80's baby that came into this world in August 1986. The lastborn of my house, after my brother and then my two sisters.
I have learned numerous things in my life. Some of those skills have been honed and crafted with my own conviction and desire to be good at them. My parents are very open about spirituality and allowed a great deal of free thought in our upbringing and that's something I will always be grateful for. But, what about social skills, etiquette, and life skills? Well, my parents didn't teach me any of those important factors for life.
Taking a compliment
I was never taught how to take a compliment. How exactly does one take a compliment? Do you gracefully say thank you and go about your business? I guess that would be the conventional way to address it.
My parents have always had a defensive reaction to compliments, that stems from a feeling of self-doubt and unworthiness. As a child and teenager, I inherited this disposition, I would naturally feel self-doubt. When people would pay me compliments, I wouldn't know which way to look or how to respond.
Not being able to take a compliment may seem like a minor issue, however, the root cause of the problem was that I didn't feel worthy of receiving it. Why wasn't I good enough to appreciate someone saying nice things to me?
For the last few years, I have been making a transition to accept myself and my traits more. Accept yourself, for everything you're good at, accept the shadows that lurk inside of you and realign with your belief system.
You're different from everyone else. Dave Grohl said it best, "No one is you and that is your power". Everyone on this entire planet is unique, whether we like to believe it or not.
Trust in yourself and you'll be able to accept and trust others. Compliment everyone. Tell your friends, your family and even strangers about how great they look, tell them about the lovely qualities that they possess. Don't hold back for the sake of holding it all back.
How to apologise
My parents really struggle to apologize to anyone. They can't apologize to one another or to their children. This trait has been passed down a generation to their children who have now adopted the same characteristic.
If we have had an argument or pissed each other off, no one really makes the first move to say sorry. It's pretty frustrating but this is the system that's in place.
When someone apologizes they have acknowledged that they've done something wrong. Unless of course, you're English, like me and we tend to apologize for just about anything.
To teach this idea to children, to apologize, if they have genuinely done something wrong is a quality that the majority of parents should teach.
When I see the way my nieces and nephews are raised, they're taught to apologize to each other, until it has been ingrained into their core beliefs. This raises their level of empathy, emotional intelligence and their ability to introspectively consider the consequences of their actions.
Feeling remorse and apologizing for my actions is something that I've had to develop in later life. With every action, there is a consequence, regardless of whether it's a positive or negative reaction, there is an outcome for my action.
To develop a level of trust, there needs to be communication between both parties. Whether it's in your relationships, friendships or even between businesses and their customers. The trust has to be there.
Managing money and learning how to budget is an invaluable life skill that should be taught to children from a young age. If parents aren't able to teach their children this, then schools should have a curriculum focussed on teaching children how to manage their finances.
In a western society, that's completely riddled with debt, an essential skill for any human to "adult", is the ability to budget, save and manage their expenses.
My dad has always had an irrational fear of money, which led to him feeling undeserving of it. He has owned a successful construction company since the dawn of time and yet, he didn't teach me anything about how to run a business or take control of my finances. I have had to slowly develop these skills myself through a substantial amount of trial and error.
The same world sees house prices exponentially increasing, as every year goes by. There was never an urgency to teach me or my siblings about mortgages, unsecured and secured debt, inflation or how to get on the property ladder.
It sounds a bit like "boo-hoo, poor me", but these are life skills that need to be factored into a child's upbringing to prepare them for the world. How can someone traverse the world, without knowing the ins and outs of what people consider to be the most valuable commodity on this planet? After all, cash is King.
The cookie cutter mold that baby boomers adopted in their lives doesn't really apply to Millennials nowadays. The common ideology to be successful in life was to go to school, get a university degree, get a "respectable" job, get married and have children. In that order. We live in a completely different time now and we need to be more creative about getting fulfillment in our lives.
Despite my parents not being able to teach me crucial life skills, I'm able to take an important lesson away from that. I know exactly what to teach my children and the people around me, with what I've learned so far.