Let’s talk about…the past

Published 1:39 pm Saturday, February 15, 2014

I recently finished a book called “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Saenz. The book is not only based in the past, but it also talks about the past of the main character, Ari. Although the book is mainly about Ari and his friend Dante finding who they are; an aspect of the story talks about Ari’s family’s past.

The reader knows that Ari has a brother who is in jail, but no one in his family will talk about him. The reader also knows that Ari’s father was in the Vietnam War, but he won’t talk about it either. As the years progress in Ari’s life, the more angry and annoyed he becomes with himself and his family. He doesn’t like the fact that they never tell him about his brother or the war. At the end of the book the reader finds out what is haunting his family’s past and it helps to release Ari from his anger.

I thought this a very good topic for this week’s column: telling your child about your past. I am sure that some of you probably already do this; you tell the good and some of the bad things in your past. But to those who don’t like to tell even your child about your past, I understand.

I understand from not only some of my friends, and from the book, that a child can feel a disconnect from their parent. Talking about your past isn’t something to be afraid of. I know it can be worrisome when telling your child personal things, because you are scared that they will take it lightly and tell everyone. Yes, that can be something to worry about. But just remember that the younger the child is, the more that they won’t understand what you went through and spread it around to their friends.

If you feel that you need to talk to them about your past, then wait until you feel that they are ready and old enough to understand. It’s important to let them ask questions as well. Don’t just tell them the basic facts then leave it alone, Answer questions that they may have. It could even make them understand even more. Don’t be scared to talk about your past. Even if it is not to your child yet, it’s important to talk to someone you can trust. Even if they can’t help you, they can understand you and help you in the future.

The past is the past, and to make it rule the way you talk to people or live your life is not what you should ever let happen. Talking to people, even if it is to your child, can not only lessen the burden on you, but also can lessen the burden of guessing and not understanding to those around you. Your past shouldn’t bring pain to you and a guessing game to others.

If you are ready and you think that your child or even someone else will care, then put it out in the open. Don’t be afraid, be thankful that now you’re not the only one who knows anymore.

Rachel Hancock lives in Sedley and is a junior at Southampton High School.