"They fuck you up, Your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, But they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
"But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats."
Those are the first two (of three) stanzas of "This Be The Verse" - a poem written by Philip Larkin in 1971. The words are rather poignent, I think.
My parents were not perfect. They both have their own issues and, as the poem says, their parents created a lot of those for them. But my parents gave me a great gift (in addition to the obvious gift of life). My parents encouraged me to think for myself, and to have my own opinions and beliefs. Debate would ensue if they wanted to challenge me, but they never told me what to think or believe - and never told me what I thought was wrong.
I know for a fact that certain actions of mine in the past disappointed them (and I'm sure future actions will as well), but they never overtly expressed that disappointment, and it never affected their love for me. I was always supported. And they focused on those things of which they were proud.
The thing my parents gave me was respect. They did and still do respect my wants and needs and allow me to be who I am. Truly, I don't think there is a more valuable gift any person can give another than respect.
So as I'm raising my son, I will try hard not to "fuck him up" too badly, and I will try to emulate my parents with regards to respecting my son and allowing him is opinions and beliefs. He deserves no less.
Thanks Mom and Dad. You did good.