I think when the default mode of cultural engagement is that our parents were wrong and we’re out to fix it, we risk inoculating ourselves against any form of self-criticism. Myopia breeds only more myopia: if we don’t have the vision to see both the good and the bad of what we’ve inherited, we’ll never learn to truly see both the good and the bad of what we’re contributing. Chesterton once wrote something to the effect that love is blind–it’s bound, and because it’s bound, it sees more clearly than anything else. I think the same sort of thing is true of our cultural engagement: if we recognize the ways in which our lives our bound up in our parents, for both good and ill, we’ll see ourselves and the world more clearly and act more effectively in it.
Matt’s comment here is on point for at least three reasons, each of which bears elaboration. Read on, intrepid explorer →