28th January 2016

The faults of our fathers

Not the role models they wanted to be

I remember a work experience day when a competent civil engineer brought his son into work. This man was well regarded and reached a position of seniority if not management but according to his son he was a looser and he wanted nothing to do with his father's chosen profession. Notwithstanding any other family dynamic he didn't see his own success in engineering but why this memory sticks is the contempt he held for his father. Extreme as this is I suspect we all judge our parents and decide what we are going to do differently. This is most obvious when the children of a chaotic lifestyle seek stability but it may play itself in more minor ways. An overly generous parent may produce offspring who are more cautious with their money or the hippies children who adopt conventional lifestyles. This may have once been the subject of irony but it is all too common place now to raise a smile. This is not to say that the family norms that we grew up with do not shape us but it is the difference we choose that define us.

Some of these differences we adopt will be highly personal but others will be generational, reflecting other changes in society and I suspect that the later may play out on the political stage. The Thatcherism of the 80s may well have as result of the affluent young being less inclined to be bound by what may have appeared to be the constraints of tribal politics. However the parents of this generation were no less radical, growing up in the 1930s and 1940s they to choose to do things differently. Their parents, of the 1920s and 1930s, were also breaking away from the opinions of their forbearers as the northern cities moved from being Conservative to Labour. It could be that I am just superimposing an idea on to history and clearly there were other forces at work but why were these changes so readily accepted? The question if this hypothesis is true is what faults will our children see in us? If my son is anything to go by it may well be to avoid the massive debt our generation has taken on. From his view point the cost of university does not justify the outcome and who knows he may take the same view when he is looking for a place of his own. Although he will still need a place to live and to match the two we could see a return to a more collectivist society?

comments powered by Disqus

Rev 1.1