At 6 years of age it is…. “My mom is the BEST mom in the whole world!”
At 10 years of age it is…. “I want to be a doctor just like my daddy!”
At 16 years of age it is…. “I just want my mom and dad to stay out of my business!”
At 18 years of age it is…. “I’ll die before I’ll be like my parents!”
At 20 years of age it is…. [the phone call home] “Mom, I just got an ‘A+’ in micro-biology!”
At 24 years of age it is…. “My gosh, I’m turning into my mother!”
It’s an interesting cycle, huh? Maybe it wasn’t exactly like that for you, but from what I know and see, this tends to be the typical route children go with their parents. Our parents are viewed as the best people in the world one year and we want to be just like them; they are the most un-cool people in the world another year and we vow to never end up so “un-cool”; then the next year we look in the mirror and we are them. Or are we?
I don’t want to get into a nature vs. nurture debate here, but I will say I believe in both, and while genetics may carry on physical features without a doubt in my mind across generations, I think the nurture aspect of learning through modeling and the other influences of our environment is just as powerful.
Considering both these aspects, I pose this question: How much control do our parents really have over us?
Not necessarily the control of taking the car keys away or telling you when you have to be home at night or where you can and can’t drive too; more of the control of who we become and how we are in life. Yes, it is true that no other being has control of how we choose to feel and who we can become, but I think many would agree that there are a lot of non-spoken influences that control how things turn out for us.
I think it is when we really start to see these that we find our self thinking (or even more scary—saying), “My gosh, I’m turning into my mother [or father].” This is not to say that being like your mom or dad is a bad thing, but of the idea that I think most all of us would admit to striving for becoming our own person and being as independent and unique as we can. With that being the case, the realization that we are more like our parents than we thought can really quickly bring us back to reality and the thought of the power of influence and control people can over our life.
If you are reading this and you are no longer living in your parents house, or even if you are, and you are over the age of 20, I’d recommend doing a self-inventory to see just how much so called “control” have your parents had on your life, in influencing who you are today.
I’ve come up with some questions that I think are interesting to consider to see just how close (in every sense of the word) you are to your parent(s). While adopted children might not share physical characteristics, I’d bet there are still many similarities in other areas.
Feel free to answer there questions publicly (on your own blog or in the comment section) or simply in the peace of your own mind. Whatever the case, here are the questions and my answers…
HOW CLOSELY CONNECTED ARE YOU WITH YOUR PARENT(S):
1.) How far away from your parent(s) do you live (maps.yahoo.com is helpful for mileage)?
2.) How often do you talk to your parent(s) (i.e. phone, email, letters, etc)?
That just totally depends, but I would say on average a couple times a month. Sometimes as little as once a month or as much as 3 or 4 times a month.
3.) How often do you see your parent(s) in person?
Holidays pretty much. Let me give you an example. This year I’ll probably see my parents 4 times. Springbreak my mom and little brother are coming to visit, then they will probably come once during the summer. And then we’ll be together for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
HOW CLOSE ARE YOUR BACKGROUNDS WITH YOUR PARENT(S):
1.) Where were your parent(s) raised?
My mom was raised in the Springfield, MO area and my dad in the St. Louis, MO area. Interesting how I was raised half my life in the Springfield area and the other half of it in the St. Louis area.
2.) If your parent(s) attended college, where was it that they went?
My mom spent two years at ACU and then a year at Southwest Missouri State University, which was where she met my dad. Hmm….I went to ACU, and SMSU was where I originally wanted to go. I even went to the same elementary school and then high school that my dad went too.
3.) What are your parent(s) highest levels of education?
My mom has a bachelors in psychology. My dad did not complete his bachelors. I have a bachelors in psychology.
4.) What age did your parent(s) marry?
My dad was 23 and my mom was 22. I guess I’m behind in that department…HA!
HOW CLOSE ARE YOUR VIEWS WITH YOUR PARENT(S):
1.) What religious affiliation do your parent(s) claim?
Church of Christ, both all of their lives. Both of their families are Church of Christ. Then there’s me! ;)
2.) What political views do your parent(s) claim?
Both of my parents are gung-ho republicans. I always claimed republican growing up because that was what “our family was.” But today, I have no interest in politics, so I really don’t claim one. But from what I hear nowadays, it sounds like for the profession I’m planning on going into, I need to look into the democratic party.
HOW CLOSE ARE YOUR INTERESTS WITH YOUR PARENT(S):
1.) What are your parent(s) professions?
My dad is a carpenter/small construction guy. Has his own business. My mom has been a homemaker my whole life growing up, but now she does a lot of substitute teaching.
2.) What similarities are there between your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend and your parent of the opposite sex?
This question doesn’t apply to me, but I put it because I think it is interesting how many times people are attracted to individuals who are pretty similar to their parent of the opposite sex. And I don’t mean that in a sick way. It really does happen though.
HOW CLOSE IN GENERAL ARE YOU WITH YOUR PARENT(S):
1.) Which parent do you feel you look more like?
I look a LOT like my mom. It’s scary when you put pictures of both of us from when we were kids together; we could have been twins. Even nowadays, when I first moved in with my uncle, one day he told me, that he would come into the living room and see me from the back and think it was my mom sitting there, from what she looked like when she was my age.
2.) Which parent do you think you are more like personality wise?
I think my personality and interests are a lot like my mom. We both obviously were interested in psychology, but we are both really into writing. I would say my mom is a very bright lady, but I don’t know if that is an appropriate similarity to note! ;)
If you have any other additional questions of interest, feel free to share those as well.
I think these are just some questions that can bring to the surface how influenced we are by our parent(s). It’s interesting to see the similarities, or in some cases, the well established differences.