Editorials and Opinions

Ben Seifer, Seif Says: Family matters

By Ben Seifer
Published: December 2008

“My boobala! It’s so great to see you. My god, look how much my little nephew has grown. Is that a beard? Adele, look at Benjamin’s little beard. After a long, arduous week of school, this, this is what I came home to: two grandparents, an aunt, uncle, three cousins, and two yapping dogs. When all I wanted was to catch my breath and go out, I found myself in the midst of a family event. Had that Friday’s school day been one minute longer, or had I been a weaker man, I would have thrown myself out of a third floor window, without question. Instead, I threw on a smile, got hugged and kissed way too many times, and even talked about where I am applying to college. Why the change of heart? Because I had looked at my smiling mom and realized I couldn’t let her down.

If anyone were to keep score, it’s a safe bet that you too owe your parents a few return favors. I have no doubt that even those of you who think that you’re good sons and daughters, at one point or another you were brats. Whether you meant to or not, you caused your parents grief. The best kid in the world has a day now and then when he or she is just a pain. After 15 or 16 years, those days add up. If we don’t owe our parents enough as it is, we definitely owe them at least for those off days.

High school students are exceedingly likely to act fine when they leave in the morning, but then come home pissing and moaning, dumping all their worries on their parents. Who wants to listen to someone complain after a long day at work? Fortunately for us, parents are somewhat obligated to do so. For this reason alone they deserve a lot of credit. Teenagers, girls especially, are scary beings.

They can switch from being completely elated to manically depressed in a moment. They are self-conscious, sensitive, have a knack for making stupid decisions, and drive exceptionally fast. They are ticking time bombs that can blow up with no notice, and then reassemble themselves in time to dent the car, throw a party, or leave a mess.

The accomplishment of waking up Monday through Friday and attending classes merits a weekend free of responsibility and obligation. But if your parents ask for a favor that diminishes some of your free time, you owe it to them to meet their request. Besides the fact that you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them (which seems like a big enough deal to merit any favor), they have tried to make us as happy and successful as possible.

Not to mention where we live. Do you think our parents would have settled in Newton, the big exciting city it is, had it not been for us? I find it hard to believe that Mr. and Mrs. Newton South parent had any other possible reason for moving to Newton other than to live in a safe community with a good public school system¦ unless your parents find enjoyment in paying inflated housing prices and an excessive property tax.

We work hard and deserve our free time. But when your parents need it, you should consider cutting them a break. They work hard too: both outside of the house and in it.

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