January 29th, 2009

socks and cat

I want to be just like her

I watch Wife Swap mainly for how fascinating it is to see how every family is it's own culture. Every household is run so completely different and the values are different and the way the children treat people differently based on how they are raised. It's a living psychology experiment really. If you want to see what kind of people your kids will be when they are raised a certain way, all you have to do is watch this show.

Of course when you swap family members who have completely different values and cultures in their home, anything can happen. Today's episode swapped wives from one family that just let their 3 boys go crazy and have fun and do whatever they want (they had no respect for their parents) with a wife from a family with military style discipline where the 7 boys had to earn privileges by doing their chores, helping out and being well behaved.

Most of the time on these shows, when the cultural differences come out, there is often a lot of anger and frustration and sometimes the spouse's even argue and storm out. I think it's because no one can understand how anyone could live completely opposite of themselves. But in today's episode I saw something really amazing and rare. The swapped wife noticed that the husband/father of the family only gave one on one time to his 7 boys if they earned it as a privilege. Now normally we would think how horrible that is, even if we know that it's impossible for a working father to have one on one quality time with so many boys and still have time for his family. It still looks bad that you have to earn one on one time with your own father through chores and helping out and being well behaved.

But instead of getting angry and yelling at the dad and telling him what a horrible parent he is, the swapped mom did something really admirable. She began to ask him about his own experience with his father. It turned out he had no father, no one around at all. To this man, having no father at all was completely normal. So the swapped mom understood that to this man, having a father WAS a privilege and not an automatic right. When she realized this, she felt so bad for the father that she stood there and cried. I think she felt his pain.

Holy cow. If everyone did this, stopped to learn the other person's side instead of getting angry or attacking them, I think we would have no arguments, no feuds, no drama and no wars. I so admire that woman. I want to be EXACTLY like her.