Becoming Our Parents



How many of us parents have not had our son (or even daughter) look at us defiantly and say ‘I don’t want to be known as your son!’, clear reference to their need to be recognized for their own abilities and achievements. No stranger to the angst faced by teenagers looking to establish their own identity and footprint, we would have perhaps smiled. And if asked, we would affirm that we thought of ourselves as progressive parents, open to such outbursts.

Becoming our parents

Later that evening, when things had cooled down, we would have reflected on whether we would have said the same to our parents, when we were that age. Times of course, were not the same then. Good homes never encouraged backchat. Youth were not so outspoken back in the day.

Then from where did that outburst come from? Us parents? Modern times? Changing cultures?

There are indeed many arguments to support the suggestion that parents are often responsible for the way in which children behave or conduct themselves. After all, they spend many years in their wards’ company, and play an influential role in the formation of their lives.

Home is the first school

Long before children get to school, they have already begun receiving lessons in life at the hands of both parents and siblings. Home is the first school. It is here that the child learns the importance of parents, the relevance of family, the need to bond, the meaning of sharing, the essence of caring, the value of humility, openness, and honesty.

It is here too, that imprinting of parental characteristics continues an increasing basis.

Like father like son, like mother like daughter

Most of us at some time or another have come across as mirror images of our parents, and not just in the physical sense. Growing up at home, we have imbibed their values and mannerisms, their inflections, and tics. If they were socially acceptable and engaging, it’s very likely that we too will be socially-acceptable and engaging. If they had this tendency to greet people in the street and engage in conversation, it’s quite likely that we would have these traits too. Also imbibed would be the other areas that complete our persona. Assertiveness. Conviction. Vision. Hard work. Perseverance. Patience. Thrift. Social adroitness. Political correctness. Financial prudence. 

The man in the mirror

Human nature is such that despite all the lessons shared and imbibed for over a fifth of our lives, we do not turn out to be clones of our parents. Each of us are also products of our abilities, our experiences, our visions, and ambitions, and also the other environments in our lives. Yet there is no denying that behind the visage of the man in the mirror who stares back at us every day, is a lineage bequeathed to us by our parents. And we must be thankful for that.

We may not have become what they wanted us to become, but all things being equal, we almost always become the people they wanted us to be.

And so perhaps our riposte to that seemingly rebellious statement from our ward, that he does not wish to be known as our son, could simply be:

‘That’s okay, but do remember, you are your father’s son!