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Viva la Difference! March 21, 2010

Posted by Kimmothy in Baptists, Fam Damily, Jews, Youth.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past week reading the info so many nice people have provided me regarding adoption stories. I’ve loved every minute of it, not just because it gives me hope and some confidence with how to proceed, but also because I’m a voyeur who loves reading about other people’s lives.

One thing that stuck out was when someone talked about the home study foster and adoptive parents go through and how among the many questions asked is how *you* were raised. This has always been a fun compare-and-contrast topic in our house, mostly because of the GLARING differences.

First, the similarities –
We’re both the oldest of two siblings.
The end.
Except that’s not even totally true, because Brian’s dad actually had a son with his first wife, so Brian has an older half-brother. So scratch that one.

The differences –
Him: Strict, church-going, not allowed playtime on Saturdays until chores were done, unrealistic curfews (he regularly broke), very restricted TV watching (The Jeffersons were not allowed into their living room for obvious reasons), arbitrary rules, regulations, Bible-invoking spare the rod, spoil the child, child rearing. Which of course made him start to rebel at a fairly young age and years of troublesome problems commenced.

Me: Bedtimes were strictly enforced, as was nutritional intake – for a little while there in the mid-70’s, my mom went on a health kick where she stopped buying Kool-aid and replaced it with the abomination that is Juicy Juice – but other than that, things were pretty laid back. Well too, good grades were stressed – I was put on phone restriction once in 9th grade when I brought home a less-than-stellar report card (damn algebra) and I got my car taken away from me a month after I got it for skipping school my senior year. And Brian laughs – “You had a CAR. That they BOUGHT you. Rough life! Hahaha!” He’s still amazed by the fact our parents took us to see Eddie Murphy in concert. Hey, they thought he was funny in the early 80’s just like mostly everyone else. Well, excluding Brian’s parents.

We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, but pretty much all the disposable income they did have, most of it went toward making me and my sister happy. I’d like to think we knew how lucky we were at the time, but come on. No kid really thinks that, do they? I was too busy comparing my JC Penny’s fake Polo shirts to the kids who wore their Calvins and Vanderbilts and United Colors of Benetton every day. Especially Melody Dixon, who not only had all the right clothes but accessorized them with a large yellow gold jewelry collection and her full 1-karat diamond studs.

Don’t worry. I’m now clearly aware of what an asshole I was.

On the flip side, for as much trouble Brian got in (some of which ended up with having the law involved), I was a nerdy good kid whose biggest fear in life was the possibility of disappointing my parents. So apparently their guilt-administering skills must have been superior to those of his parents’. Score one for the Jews.

So if a social worker were to ask us to describe our childhoods, we’d be able to say that between us they were very, uh, DIVERSE. Which in my opinion is good, right? Our future kid acts up, and I’m sure we’d have some lively discussions on what the punishment would involve. I’d say something like no phone and TV for a week and Brian would make him/her re-roof the house while memorizing the New Testament.

Or some happy medium.



1. Swistle - March 22, 2010

Oooo, fun topic! Paul and I are each oldest of two, each brought up in Christian Households. Our big difference is that his parents made rules but didn’t enforce them, and my parents made overly strict rules and overly enforced them.

2. Shari - March 23, 2010

I would also add the word Stable to describe both your upbringings if a social worker were to ask. Sure, the differences are in the details, but you both had pretty stable households that were safe and your parents loved you and ultimately wanted the best for you…or arguably what they thought was best. Considering all of the neglect and abuse, and other f***ed-up sh*t happening out there, you guys have a lot in common as far as how you would raise a child.

3. iamheatherjo - March 23, 2010

I have nothing witty or interesting to add, I’m just reading along and waiting to see what’s next! 😀

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