Analogy is a useful and interesting tool to covey an idea; for example, an atom has been compared to the solar system, the nucleus representing the sun and the electrons, the orbiting planets; the heart can be illustratively analogized to a pump.

We would use a musical analogy here, the “rondo,” a form used typically in the music of the classical period, in which a theme, played at the outset of a work, returns several times after periods of intervening music, called “episodes.” Our recurring theme here, is the predictable shift, in stages, of emotional dependence and the resulting interactions between parent and child.

We have previously written about dependence in general and life’s reliable dependent relationships. In this writing, we would focus on familial emotional dependencies and interaction.

From birth through early childhood, the child is largely, if not solely, dependent upon the parent for life’s necessities and, as well, for emotional nurturing. Dutiful parents, in addition to the mandatory basics of child husbandry, render love, assurances of safety and guidance regarding the outside world, school and later, the community.

The parent naturally derives great personal pleasure and a significant measure of self- esteem from this role, most especially from such dependent and loving interaction with the child.  However, this stage is universally only of temporary duration.

As the child reaches adolescence, his contemporaries and friends begin to take on ever increasing importance and reactive influence, and there is a corresponding decline in reliance upon parental services, especially guidance; this phenomenon is especially operative at the stage when the son or daughter leaves home for college.

The principal theme of our rondo is now accentuated. As the healthy and properly reared child becomes increasingly more independent and less dependent upon the parent, many parents, nevertheless, at least for some uncomfortable and unrewarding period, continue to maintain their outworn expectations founded upon the early familial history.

The “why don’t you call- I do call” telephone conversation, is a classic travesty; it evokes nothing but possible guilt and mutual anger, erases the possibility of any real conversation and may, in fact, lead to less telephone contact in the future and a strained relationship. Parents with anachronistic expectations will tend to, unproductively, necessitate the child’s maintenance of self-protective distance.

Every parent, simply as an adult member of society (independent of child rearing) owes it to himself, at least, to find some interest or activity which has the potential of his enrichment and life-enhancement; whether it be a craft, fine literature, the arts, botany, or some other elective pursuit. In addition to his enhancement and pleasure, such pursuits prevent one from leading a mono-focused and limited life experience. In such event, an enhancement of interaction with family members by telephone or otherwise, becomes predictable.

We all need to be familiar with this recurrent (rondo) melody and make it a permanent part of our life-time musical education.                      -p.

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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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