Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dostoevsky on parenting

the brothers karamazov ile ilgili görsel sonucu
OK so maybe Dostoevsky wasn't specifically giving parenting advice but this piece really hit home for me at this particular moment. In a time where the main worries of first world parents revolve around things such as educational success, good social skills (having friends) or high achievement in extracurricular activities, this little tidbit at the end of The Karamazov Brothers glimmers like a rare jewel. Unlike the usual concerns parents have, this one made me think, "Well, here's something I have some control over!"
Alyosha, the protagonist of The Karamazov Brothers, is giving some advice to some young boys at a pivotal moment in their lives (after the death of their schoolmate). He says:

     You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one's heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us.

     This had a profound effect on me and as I think of it, memories of my childhood flicker through my mind like blinking Christmas lights. Of my grandmother brushing her teeth with the Water-Pik toothbrush, my aunt Kathy always giving me a nut to eat whenever she was preparing food, of me swimming in a huge bucket with my brother in our backyard, of my mom watering her garden every day in the late afternoon, of my dad making breakfast in the kitchen on Sunday morning with the oldies channel blasting on the radio, of how my grandpa would sew and resew up his old leather boots because he could never throw anything that was still usable away, etc., etc., etc... it could go on and on. Of course there were bad memories too but I won't share those.
     I was just given a little hope with this because lately I've felt like my kids' childhood isn't great and its my fault. It's all really in my head because my kids aren't complaining at all. It's all me. Me and my stupid overthinking brain. ANYWAY . . . I just got happy over Alyosha's pep talk and I thank Dostoevsky personally and would give him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek if we were ever to meet. My kids have some pretty good memories already and I hope I can help to fill their lives with more before they go out to meet this cold, dark world on their own.    


karla Zenteno said...

You already are a wonderful mother, don't ever doubt it! XOXO

Sonja said...

So very brilliant. I've always admired you as a mother (and person, in general). This is a prime example of why I need you in my life.