I read recently how parents have the advantage of seeing their children in their entirety, from start to just about finish. Parents are the ones who witness those first 18 years or so, years of experiences that become the basis for lifestyle, ideas, and values, the essence of who they are. These are the years when kids learn to win and lose gracefully, be self-confident or shy, work well with others or alone, and be kind or mean. No one else in my life has that insight as to why I’m so analytical, struggle with guilt, lack confidence, and avoid confrontation. I found myself looking closing at a photo of my 20-something year old dad, wondering what he experienced to make him the man he was; a man who adored my mom but always needed to be in charge. I struggled many times to understand my husband’s behavior, but rarely struggle with understanding my children’s, making it easy to accept them for who they are. Understanding why I am who I am is insightful, but it will never be used as an excuse for my behavior. Instead I’ll use that understanding to find ways to change me for the better.