Becoming Your Parents :
Heredity plays a role in almost all human development, whether physical, mental, or emotional. We tend to look like our parents and are subject to the same sensitivities they have. We may even be predisposed to certain behaviors or preferences. As we grow older, we become increasingly aware of the traits that exist within us and the clear history of the traits of our mothers and fathers. Our response to this epiphany depends upon whether the inclinations, tendencies, and penchants we inherited from our forebears are acceptable in our eyes. We may honor some of these shared traits while rejecting others. However, there is no law of nature, no ethereal connection between parents and children, that states that the latter must follow in the footsteps of the former. We are each of us free to become whoever we wish to be.
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When we accept that our parents are human beings in possession of both human graces and human failings, we begin to regard them as distinct individuals. And by granting mothers and fathers personhood in our minds, we come to realize that we, too, are autonomous people and in no way destined to become our relations. While we may have involuntarily integrated some of our parents’ mannerisms or habits into our own lives, conscious self-examination will provide us with a means to identify these and work past them if we so desire. We can then unreservedly honor and emulate those aspects of our mothers and fathers that we admire without becoming carbon copies of them.
Though many of the tempers and temperaments that define you are inherited, you control how they manifest in your life. The patterns you have witnessed unfolding in the lives of your parents need not be a part of your unique destiny. You can learn from the decisions they made and choose not to indulge in the same vices. Their habits need not become yours. But even as you forge your own path, consider that your parents’ influence will continue to shape your life-whether or not you follow in their footsteps. Throughout your entire existence, they have endeavored to provide you with the benefit of their experiences. How you make use of this profound gift is up to you.