The Delphic Maxims – 4. Respect your parents (Γονεις αιδου)

Back on track with my blogging through the Maxims, I find this one a personal struggle right now. I’ve always tried to live a good life. I’ve always tried to be respectful both to and in regards to my parents. My father, though, has been a fountain of disappointment and broken promises in my life since as far back as I can remember. He does what is right by him first and foremost, with little regard to those around him.

There are many little things one can say are petty when I look upon them bitterly, that have left me disappointed in the father figure he is. Things like broken promises for vacations, or pets, or visits to my home since I’ve moved out and so forth. But they all add up into a rock that sits at the bottom of my stomach, weighing me down and making me weary with sorrow.

Recently, the day after the United States Presidential Election this year, my father publicly shamed and disowned me on Facebook in front of all my friends, in-laws and old family friends. Not to mention the family I share with him that actually has a Facebook. All because I don’t share his political views and because I cussed on the internet. He claims it is more the latter, that my using the word ‘shit’ in a public forum online somehow reflects negatively on him even though I am in my 30’s, but I know it is more the former.

I have never been good enough for him. I could fit an entire blog post about how I never met the ridiculous standards he set before me and how my sister’s expected standards are so much lower she can’t help but meet them, and that no matter how she falters, she is always golden in his eyes, but I won’t. I may vent in posts about my father, I may vent to friends, but I do everything in my power to not disrespect him. That is exceedingly hard for me now since I know I am nothing he wants to be proud of and that while he overreacted I am the one expected to apologize -which I won’t, I’m done apologizing for being me.

My mother, however, if my father is a fountain of disappointment, is a fountain of patience, strength and virtue. I will always have her back because she has always had mine. She has always been there for me through everything. Her only failing is that she often excuses away my father’s behavior as, “Oh, that’s your Dad,” as if that was an acceptable reason for his radical behavior.

Even through everything, I still love my parents. Maybe my mother a bit more than my father, and I want to do right by them. I love my father. I may not like him right now, but I do love him.

I have a friend whose daughter disrespects her on a regular basis and it breaks my heart. I would never dream of talking to my parents the way I see some kids talk to their parents these days. And that’s even with my mental illness. But regardless of what has happened… I still hold my parents in honor, in esteem and they deserve my respect. They brought me into this world. They helped mold and shape me into the strong, independent individual I currently am.

I may not always like them, but I respect them.

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