On the night of Sunday, March 17, 2019, UAT4’s fellows and parents were invited to a open discourse about gender, sexuality, and sex norms over generations. The mentors asked questions regarding the ways we were raised and our personal viewpoints on the topics and this led to robust conversation. Angie Pava discusses her experience in the following paragraphs.
Across the Gen(d)erations wasn’t an ordinary meet-up for UAT4’s parents and fellows. It wasn’t a casual gathering. It wasn’t simply something people showed up to and discussed on the car ride back home. This night was a moment to speak in the comfort and safety of others. Although my parents couldn’t come, I learned a lot from others at this event. When the fellows first had their chance to speak, I noticed how almost all of us felt misunderstood by our parents, and how quick we are to criticize their decisions. When it was the parents turn to speak, I realized that this was something the parents had never heard before. They never knew that their child was feeling or thinking these things. These new ideas opened up a gate for them to express that they are simply learning, and that their journey as parents is not something that they have perfected, nor will they ever.
I realized what the most important thing in a relationship between a parent and a child is: communication. They will never know what we’re thinking, and we will never know what they’re thinking unless we speak up. My eyes were opened to both sides of the spectrum and made me realize that our parents are really just human beings, and that they’re doing the best they can.
Does that mean that it's easy? No. Does that mean that we shouldn’t expect them to set an example for us? No. This simply means that they’re trying, as we are. Across the Gen(d)erations gave me the courage to willingly express all my thoughts about how they raised me based on my sex and gender. It gave me the courage to not just say what they want to hear and what will “make them proud.” There’s no growth in that. There’s no development in that. As I mentioned before, communication is the only way to express and understand. Kids often forget that we were raised differently from our parents, and that they have different experiences. We cannot always believe that they will have the same mindset as we do simply because we have the same blood. I don’t expect my parents to have the same values, morals, or perspectives as me, but I do expect them to be considerate and understanding… as I hope I am to them.
Angella Pava is a junior at Somerset Academy High School. She is hardworking, caring, and passionate and loves to spend time with her friends. She is very determined and will fight strongly to satisfy those around her. She is also extremely loving and has a very caring heart.