Being the perfect parent your children will never be and which your parents never were

Driving, or rather, trapped, in heavy traffic on Cesar Chavez Boulevard (ah, the beauty) outside downtown this morning, I saw a billboard on the south side of the street. It looked unfamiliar, perhaps it’s been there a while, but I rarely take the street to work, and when I do, traffic is normally moving at a brisker pace through this area and I’m not fond of the idea of rear ending a car simply for the sake of billboard-gazing. So this morning, in standstill traffic, I saw it for the first time.

The billboard caught my eye because it made no sense. None at all.

It makes no sense for several reasons, but the primary one is because there is a logical fallacy present. For a parent to be “perfect,” it follows naturally that the person must be “perfect” as well. One cannot be a perfect compartmentalized extension of an imperfect person.

We’re all imperfect. Vilely so, if you ask me. People are vile and disgusting and their collective imperfection makes me sick to my stomach. The delineation between tolerable imperfection and intolerable imperfection is the degree to which a person’s self-acceptance of imperfection is obstructed by their ego.

People are flawed, and thus, they make flawed role models and flawed mentors. And disastrous parents. There are people who don’t try to be parents and churn out apathetic criminal losers. And there are people who try too hard to be parents and they churn out high-strung mental cases. People are imperfect. The illusion of being a perfect parent makes for resounding disappointments that further gnaw at the soul of our cultural psychic peace of mind. No one is what they want to be, least of all “perfect parents.”

People who believe parental perfection is attainable also believe their children should be perfect, which leads to further sick parental obsession. Sometimes, the most concerned parents are those who are most imperfect and who allow their short-sighted actions to mar a generation behind the guise of good intentions which are nothing but unacknowledged pressures of “offspring ownership” duties they believe exist.

Imperfection runs rampant and it procreates exponentially and forcefully. The millions of generations of human evolution since the dawn of time have cemented a deep, unshakable legacy of human imperfection. Being human is being imperfect. Monkeys and dogs and hamsters are perfect. So are lizards and platypuses. Imperfection is so deeply embedded in our character that perfection, as a concept, can only live imperfectly in our human souls.