What it's Like Growing Up With Conservative Parents

In the midst of our current political climate, and since returning to Boston University, I have been reflecting on my upbringing in a house of conservative Christian Republicans. It’s too easy to forget that there are opposing political opinions once we’re fully immersed in the BU bubble, but recently I have been challenging myself through discussions, albeit upsetting ones, with my parents.

Credit: @binchcity (Instagram)

Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents to the moon and back and I fully appreciate the manner in which they raised me. Our Christian values, while conservative, taught me to be kind-hearted, generous, humble, and giving. I can only thank my mother for raising me to be the woman I am today. Because of her, I let myself grow to form my own views and opinions based on the values she instilled in me. That is how I stay sane when having those lovely family dinner table conversations about whatever Trump tweeted recently.

It is so difficult to express the feelings that accompany a political discussion with my parents, and those of you in a similar position might relate. It’s so easy to be here at BU and think of the people that disagree with you as “other”; they are someone somewhere that you’ll never talk to. Getting off the phone with my mother after discussing Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony was heartbreaking. I felt defeated and alone. There are days when I can’t possibly comprehend how my parents can believe what they do, but having these discussions with them has taught me that having compassion in these arguments is so important.

I can’t help but be disappointed in their opinions but, because I love them and because I understand their values and beliefs, I am able to participate in these discussions. I have to remember that my parents are not defined by their political affiliation, and they are able to be caring, kind, and loving people no matter who they vote for. Knowing that distinction, and understanding that both Democrats and Republicans (and everyone in between) are people too, is something that I feel we have lost in our incredibly polarized political climate.  

The discussion can be entirely different when it comes from a place of love, because I love my parents and I want them to understand my stance. Recognizing that they love me too and will be proud of me no matter what makes it so much less painful, and trust me, these discussions can be painful.

Because I love my parents I’ll argue with them for hours on end, even when it feels hopeless. And perhaps, little by little, I’ll be able to open their minds; but until then I will love and respect them no matter who they vote for.

 

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