Australia is buzzing with the news today that former prime minister (x2), Kevin Rudd has resigned from both the parliament and politics.
Kevin Rudd, who was deposed as Prime Minister in 2010 from within his own party by Julia Gillard, recently lead the Labor party to an election loss. Essentially, Kevin Rudd was reinstalled as Labor leader and Prime Minister six weeks before the election to mitigate the election carnage that was a sure thing if the party was led by Julia Gillard. Labor came out of the election with the inevitable loss, but surprisingly performed better than most expected in Western Sydney and Queensland. And they attribute this success to Mr Rudd’s campaigning and leadership.
Mr Rudd, had quite the reputation of being a controlling narcissistic perfectionist. Whilst he could turn on the charm when he had to, the Government was often paralysed by Mr Rudd’s inability to make a decision and his cabinet members often surprised by Mr Rudd’s failure to consult them. Certainly, Mr Rudd’s concession speech on election night looked more like a victory speech and contained not an ounce of humility. I will say no more other than I am glad he is going.
There is some great commentary coming out of the Australian press on his leaving. This morning I heard a reporter ask a Labor strategist whether Mr Rudd was going to suffer relevance deprivation now that he was stepping out of the lime light. Relevance deprivation for a reputed narcissist should truly be a fate worse than losing an election. The strategist replied that this was unlikely given that the international stage loved Mr Rudd and no doubt he would find a gig somewhere which put him back on the international stage.
I love this expression “relevance deprivation” and it is the first time I have heard it.
It got me to thinking that relevance deprivation is the perfect expression to also describe what we are going through as parents of teenagers. Now that “separation” has begun, our opinions and advice no longer have the same gravitas to our teens. On many days it feels we are fighting for relevance beyond the provision of a roof, internet connection and home cooked meals. We have been voted out and our views automatically discounted simply because of where they are sourced.
In short, I very much feel relevance challenged.
I have absolutely no issue with my children seeking opinions and advice from others. In fact, I think its vital that they have trusted confidants beyond their parents they can turn to discuss things and gain different perspectives. I also don’t believe that as parents and in the absence of a critical situation we are automatically entitled to give our teens unsolicited opinions on their lives.
But it sure would be nice to be asked every now and again.
I sincerely believe that some of what we discuss does get though even though the teens would rather not show or acknowledge this. The situation will right itself eventually, provided that we retain respect for each other during the process. It is up to us parents to lead the way on this and make sure we don’t deprive ourselves of a place of relevance in our teens’ life. We need to let go and not fight it and embrace the future and our teens for all they are worth.
In other words, keep calm and regain relevance.