Parents are experts on crushing dreams. We will ruin our children’s lives over and over again. In my case, this mainly involves denying my daughter chocolate whenever she wants it. I’ll be the first to admit that others may have more complex dreams to crush.
Teghan would disagree.
No one is better at keeping score than kids. Think long and hard about the things you say no to; it could come back a thousand times to haunt you. No pressure. Some of it is unavoidable, but you may want to throw caution to the wind once in a while and say yes when your instincts are giving off sirens. Or when your pocketbook is empty.
Sure, your kid might give up piano lessons a week after you buy that piano….but it’s better than a lifetime of being blamed for destroying their career as a concert pianist. It’s amazing what we believe we’re capable of when we don’t have to prove it. For Pete’s sake let’s make them prove it.
Other times parents only have to give their all-powerful permission. No further effort or monetary contribution necessary. But being responsible worriers by nature, parents often say no because they have no idea what they are really saying no to. Sometimes parents are offered the unique opportunity of crushing their children’s very souls. Think about this:
In 1966, my mom should have met The Beatles.
(Go ahead and take a minute to consider how sad a sentence that is.)
I get it. What mother wants to send her fourteen year old daughter on a weekend trip to Chicago with her friends? A hotel and concert two hours away from home does sound dangerous. My grandma didn’t like The Beatles, and they held no significance to her. What was the big deal? She just didn’t know.
My mom’s friend had a parent on the inside. I think it had something to do with the hotel The Beatles were staying at. I could call my mom and ask- but it’s late. I’m sure she will comment if I am completely wrong about something. It’s been a while since I’ve heard the story. I will keep it brief in case she wants to write about it herself someday. But it’s probably still too painful.
Although they didn’t know it at the time, chances to go to a live Beatles concert were running out quick. But having inside information and actual connections at the hotel where The Beatles were staying is what makes this scenario important. Those should have been signs to grandma that this opportunity deserved special consideration. To be clear, what we are talking about is the chance for a fourteen year old girl, in 1966, to go to Chicago for the weekend with her friends to see a Beatles concert. While there, they would stay in the same hotel. With The Beatles.
A million girls would have killed for this opportunity. A million girls were probably desperate to figure out which hotel they would even be staying at. Well, not the ones burning their records over the recent “more popular than Jesus” scandal. But even they probably would have enjoyed the chance to burn those records right outside of their hotel room.
My mom didn’t get to go. Her friends went without her because, I imagine, their parents were awesome. And of course they did meet the Beatles in that hotel, got autographs, and even attended their press conference.
As far as I can see, this scenario playing out should have literally killed my mother. Me? I would have gone to any length of deception to get to Chicago. Totally worth the consequences. And it would only make the story better. Didn’t she think about the years she would have to tell about the time she deceived her mother and met The Beatles? Why can’t I be telling that story?
Grandma only had to say yes. The story doesn’t improve with time, either. You see? It’s terribly disappointing even now, forty-eight years later. Bet grandma didn’t see that coming.
Don’t be the villain in a story your grandchildren will still be talking about a half century later. As a parent I suppose error is inevitable, but we can probably read the signs well enough to avoid the big ones. Consider your objections carefully. A good portion of our kids’ youth might be spent seething over how we stole their future as a gymnast, musician, or spouse of that random kid you didn’t like but somehow managed to become rich and famous. Sure it was never gonna work out. But now it’s our fault.
The road you plucked them from was leading to amazing places! I bet in that alternate universe a 1966 trip to Chicago would have led to John Lennon falling in love with my mother. We’ll just never know for sure. It’s something to think about the next time you want to make a decision without weighing all of the soul-crushing possibilities.
Or maybe just the next time you find yourself listening to Rubber Soul.