My Dad doesn’t read much. My Mom will never be interested in philosophy. They watch the news – I don’t. They like to talk about the minutia of everyday life, and I like to talk about big picture stuff.
Needless to say, dinner conversation with my parents is not the easiest.
I sometimes wish it was different. Conversation is one of my favorite things, I thrive on ideas, and I’m frustrated that I can’t relate to two of the most important people in my life on that level. Not being able to relate intellectually in turn makes it harder for me to relate to them in general.
I have two options: I can continue to regret the lack of intellectual connection (something they don’t really care about) – or I can find other ways to connect with them through things they do love.
My Dad and I are at our best together when we are doing active things together: hunting, fishing, working, etc. Or we’ll watch manly movies together: Westerns, action flicks – you know the kind. If a great conversation comes out of these things (as it sometimes will) then all the better.
My Mom and I are at our best together when we are experiencing new places or things, like when she came to visit me in Atlanta. When she and I are both engaged in some novelty – whether it’s seeing an improv comedy show or walking to dinner on the Atlanta Beltline – we’re both enjoying ourselves.
Rather than grind my teeth in frustration at my parents for liking what they like, I should try to maximize the time we get to do things we both like.