Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for a time machine. I have no desire to go back and relive parts of my life (although a few do-overs would be nice.) But I would like to revisit certain moments so I can see them from a different perspective, particularly one that takes into account my parents’ point of view.
Years ago, I never would have thought I’d want to see things through my parents’ eyes, but time and children have a way of changing many things, including the way I think about peacocks.
When I was growing up, my next door neighbors had peacocks (now known as peafowl but when I was a kid they were all peacocks), and I thought that they were the ultimate cool pet. I used to visit their pen daily to search for stray feathers, and I was always impressed when a peacock fanned out his tail and strutted for me.
My parents were less thrilled about the peacocks. In fact, they actually despised those birds. My dad constantly complained about them and the noise they made. At the time, I just thought he had extremely sensitive ears. I should have realized there was more to his complaints.
He and my mother aren’t pretentious, and they don’t care about how people look or what clothes they wear. Most of all, they aren’t taken in by people who call attention to themselves by being the loudest or the most demanding. In other words, they find peacocks annoying.
When I was a child, I may not have understood. As an adult, I do. I’ve had to deal with too many people who are more focused on appearance than substance and who waste energy and resources getting attention rather than focusing attention where it is most needed.
In other words, I now also find peacocks annoying, and I realize I should have paid more attention to my parents’ opinions.
But here’s the really cool thing about being a parent: we have the opportunity to see the impact of genetics and our own lifestyle choices on a new generation.
When my children were younger and we visited the zoo on a regular basis, we always admired the animals for their various qualities. We talked about how fast the cheetah was or clever the monkeys were or how wise the tortoise must be. But my kids never gave the peacock the time of day. They found the strut and beauty completely unremarkable.
Even better, now that they are adolescents, they actually find the peacocks in their lives annoying.
And I find that completely satisfying.