I like to think my parents did a stellar job of raising us. I think they managed to be firm without being tyrants. They created an environment where we could talk to them, joke around with them but at the same time, we always knew they were the parents and we were the kids. My parents gave us a pretty comfortable life. All our needs and most of our wants were taken care of. We were exposed to a lot of things and we were allowed to dream and form opinions and vocalise those opinions. They did great. But if I had to pick a few things that could have been done differently I would go with:

Letting me know early on that life didn’t revolve around me

I had a very doting father. And he made a spectacle of everything that I did. I would get him a pen and he would call me a star. Hell, I think I was about 7 when he called me an asset, I didn’t even know what an asset was at the time, I just knew I was one. I’m grateful for those positive affirmations. They built my confidence.

Perhaps my confidence was built to a fault. See, because my dad thought everything I did was impressive, I kinda grew up expecting everybody else to find me as impressive. I got cocky. And because I saw myself through his eyes, I easily got offended when people didn’t find me as amusing as he did.

I’m older now and I realise that he was impressed by me, not necessarily because I was amazing, but because I was his. His world may have revolved around me but nobody else’s did. So I started teaching myself that although I mattered, I didn’t matter that much. Although I was amazing, I wasn’t that amazing. Although I was an asset, I probably was not any more of an asset than the next person.

Sometimes Honesty Hurts

Ask any of my siblings, they will tell you we were raised on tough love. We grew up in a house where words were not minced. The first person to tell me I had a huge head was my dad, the first person to tell me I couldn’t sing for shit was my mum and one time my dad did an interview on TV and stuttered at the beginning of it. He never heard the end of it.

We were a family that was honest and we were also very brutal in our honesty. So imagine my shock when I gave one of my famous honest opinions and someone’s feelings were hurt. I didn’t understand that. In the process of learning and unlearning a lot of things, I realised that sometimes people need support, not the truth. And in the occasions that they need the truth, they need to be eased into it.

Extended Family Is Everything

My immediate family was tight. Mum, dad, brother, sister, me, couple of dogs.It was great. However, we didn’t interact a lot with extended family. Sure there were Christmases and visits here and there. But I never really knew my extended family all that well. A lot of my relatives, I first met at my grandmother’s funeral a few years back.

I’m close with my cousin Musa, who is one of my favourite people in the entire world but we didn’t grow up close. We both consciously decided that we wanted to be in each other’s lives. So we built our relationship from there. I think about how much cooler it would have been to be as close to him when we were kids as we are now.

What do you wish you could change about the way you were raised?