When I was a teenager I listened to a lot of heavy metal music-Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, etc. I would listen to The Metal Zone with Dr. Metal (RIP) on 94 WHJY Providence. MTV had the Headbangers Ball and I would watch that and hope to see one of my favorite heavy metal music videos.
I have recently been listening to a Pandora station that plays many of the bands and songs that I listened to while I was in high school. One of the songs that came on recently was Dyers Eve by Metallica. I’m sure that when I was seventeen years old, the song spoke to me about being ruled by my parents. The lyrics talk about being in a house that is controlled by the parents. There is no space in that house for a child’s thoughts or ideas.
One part of the song talks about what the parents are telling the child- “Same thing I’ve always heard from you. Do as I say not as I do”. As a seventeen year old with my brain not fully developed and my teenage ways ruling all parts of my thoughts, these lyrics spoke to me. I wondered why my parents wouldn’t let me hang out late with my friends or why they worried so much about my grades and why couldn’t I sit around and watch MTV all day.
“Day In, day out, live my life through you. Pushed onto me what’s wrong or right. Hidden from this thing that they call life.” Why did my parents think that they could tell a seventeen year old boy what was wrong and right? Why are they hiding me from all of the cool things out there that I should be able to experience? Agghhh-Teenage Angst!!!
When I hear the song 30 years later I have a different perspective on some of the lyrics. As a parent, am I doing any of these things wrong?
“Children are seen but are not heard. Tear out everything inspired.” What am I doing (or not doing) to keep my children from being inspired by life? Am I not listening to them when they talk to me about what they want?
“No guarantee its life as is. But damn you for not giving me my chance.” Am I sheltering my kids too much? Am I not letting them try things because it isn’t something that I would like? How am I responsible for not giving them a chance?
“Shocked at the world that I see. Innocent victim please rescue me.” Are my kids going to be shocked at the world that they see when they leave my nest? Am I shaping kids that are going to be asking me to rescue them when they go out on their own?
I’ve listened to Dyers Eve a bunch of times recently to try and remind myself that my kids are going to be out in the world on their own soon. Part of my role is to prepare them for that world. I don’t know if what I am doing is preparing them for the world. I do know that I am doing the best that I can. Just like my parents were doing the best that they could with me and their parents before them. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I am worrying too much and my kids will be fine.