When Kelly and I started our excellent (thanks to the students for making it that way) workshop a couple of weeks ago, we did the usual ice-breaking go-around-the-room thing but this time with a twist. Rather than a funny or embarrassing moment, I asked for a time when everyone saw through his/her parents. Understood something about them. Took them off their pedestals, maybe. Demoted or promoted them.
The story I told was a simple one. I was eight or ten, probably. It was 1950, maybe. My aunt and uncle used to come over to watch wrestling on TV. Black-and-white TV. This was the Gorgeous George era of wrestling, not WWF stuff. Fun to watch with your friends or relatives. Eat junk food. That kind of thing.
One night my mother got upset with something the referee did, something she thought was unfair. I remember looking at her in amazement. How could she take that seriously. I knew it was entertainment, probably choreographed beforehand. Why didn't she?
I was an only child and what my mother said and did was important to me. She was pretty religious w/out being batshit crazy. We'd started to clash about religion, and neither one of us liked what was happening.
When I saw that she believed in wrestling like she believed in God, I stopped arguing with her about Heaven or Hell or any of her core beliefs. I saw we were very different people. I didn't know better than she did, but I knew different I was able to go back to church with her and my dad. But I skated through the fire-and-brimstone sermons. It was all wrestling to me. I've written about this incident a dozen times and never had it jell into fiction, but it was a wonderful insight. And I've used the spirit of it over and over as young characters in my books clash with their parents and either understand them or not. Either love them less or more.
If it's something you might use in your fiction, take it with, as my mother used to stay, my blessing.