Appreciate parents now for close relationships in the future
Sometimes, you’ve just got to let momma be momma, said Anthony Hamilton, poet laureate for the Watts Towers Arts Center and founder of the Hip-Hop Poetry Choir at a segment of the Conference on World Affairs at the UMC on Tuesday Morning.
Hamilton spoke on a panel along with an Irish storyteller, well-traveled political consultant, and a government consultant who speaks seven languages about relationships with parents, urging members of a generally older audience to learn to accept and appreciate their parents for who they are, not what they had done in the past.
Political consultant Daniel Odescalchi talked about how his mother, a first-generation American from Europe, made him wear pink “hot-pants” to school when he was a kid because she thought they looked “adorable.”
“I used to think my parents were crazy,” he said, “but now we discuss literally everything. [My parents] are by far some of the closest people I have in my life.”
Liz Weir, a renowned storyteller from Belfast, Ireland, discussed how her feelings about her mother changed drastically after she died. Weir said she regrets not telling her mother that she loved her right before she passed away, but has learned to deal with her feelings since.
“I’ve moved from a time where memories of her hurt to a time where memories of her comfort,” she said.
Olessia Smotrova-Taylor, a first-generation American who grew up in Uzbekistan, talked about how she grew distant from her parents when they did not emotionally support her decision to leave home and go to college in America. Over time, though, she has forgiven her parents, and now worries that she doesn’t show her appreciation for them enough.
“I am always paranoid I don’t do enough to honor them,” Smotrova-Taylor said.
After speaking, the panel addressed a variety of questions from the audience, ranging from how to relate to parents who ascribe to a different political party, to caring for a widowed mother who demands constant attention.
The panel agreed at the end that making peace with your parents did not mean simply getting along with them, but taking the time to understand them.
“In the end,” said moderator Marsha Caplan, “you can say your mother did all these terrible things to you, but what are you going to do about it?”
Contact Campus Press staff writer Brian Beer at firstname.lastname@example.org.