22. A parent's encouragement can mean the world.
When I was in middle school I decided I wanted to be a meteorologist. I was 11 though. I liked learning about weather but crappy makeup and boys were still the main points of my day. One night I didn't want to watch a special on weather channel. My dad tells me, "You don't really want to be a meteorologist you just want to be on tv like the weather guys."
I stopped wanting to be a meteorologist a short time later because it wasn't good enough for my parents. The messed up thing was I took a class in college about how weather systems work together on Earth and it was absolutely my favorite class I took. My university didn't offer any further classes so I didn't go any further.
After that, in high school, I found out I wasn't bad at drawing. I took a couple art classes and I was one of the top students in them. I was in robotics club and I made a 3D animation for a contest and I loved that. Now I was raised in a super religious household where I was taught that our talents are God given and we have them for a reason and here I was pretty great at art so I decided to go to college for 3D animation.
Apparently talents in art are excluded from "God’s plan" and my parents were super disappointed in me. My dad stopped wanting to spend time with me while my mom swears to this day she never said this but I woke up one morning and walked out to the living room just in time to hear her tell my brother "stay in schools so you don't throw away your life like your sister." Screw you guys. I graduated with a 3.9 GPA when I was only 16. I never partied, dated, drank, or did drugs but suddenly I was a failure for doing what I loved and was good at.
23. Children are not weapons.
Fight constantly and then drag me into it.
My parents had drunken screaming matches a minimum of three times a week, and it would last for hours. Then while arguing about who was a bigger idiot, they would both burst into me and my brothers room, turn on the light, and have us weigh in.
"You were there, your mother said that, right?!!"
"Tell your father what you told me about him the other day!!"
As a kid I just thought this was normal, but looking back I can't believe how messed up that was. These were not isolated events either, my brother and I were weapons in half their fights and if it meant waking us up at 2:00am, so be it.
24. Allow me to interject...
My father made the mistake of treating me like an adult for most of my life. Sure, the activities and adventures he'd dream up for me were always age-appropriate, but he made a point of approaching me with respect and interacting with me as though I was an independent entity.
With that said, he wasn't above enacting his own variety of mischief.
By the time I was about three years old, my father had trained me to walk up to groups of conversing adults, stand in silence for a moment, and then politely speak up.
"Excuse me," I would say, "but I would like the opportunity to interject a comment."
That was the exact phrase that I would use. Needless to say, it had a rather profound effect on whatever audience I had approached. Everyone would look down at me, dumbfounded, until at last someone would invite me to continue.
Unfortunately, my father's training only went so far, and I rarely had anything to add to the conversations that I was interrupting. More often than not, I'd simply delight in the attention, wait until it looked like people were getting impatient, then inform everyone that Michelangelo was my favorite Ninja Turtle (at least for that week).
Having seen the difficulty I experienced in actually contributing to conversations, my father took to teaching me obscure bits of entertaining trivia. Before long, I was a veritable wellspring of useless knowledge, which I'd share with anyone willing to listen. Meanwhile, my mother was teaching me to use my imagination... and somehow, those two traits combined themselves in my head. Nowadays, as a direct result of their parenting, I both delight in sharing odd facts and occasionally making them up on the fly.
If only someone had taught me to shut up once in awhile.