Have you ever noticed how some people are carbon copies of their parents? I’m not talking about looks, but the way they act. I have a theory about this.
If you are an observant person, and I know that you are, then you can look at what your parents are doing and make judgment calls. I noted, for instance, that my mom spent a lot of time sitting around without really having too much ambition. I also noticed that, when I got older, I wanted to sit around. I loved many, many things about my mother, but sitting around wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I decided to lay around instead, which I considered a change for the better.
Same with my dad. He was old school with the attitude, “Do it because I said so.” Normal kids don’t want to do things they’re ordered to do because it’s usually something unsavory like cleaning your room or kissing your Aunt Jane. If the person would explain why, like: “Clean your room so that the Boogie Man won’t want to move in under your bed because he only hangs out in dirty rooms,” then I’d be in there swooshing through the sticky jawbreakers on the dresser and crusty socks splayed all over like some kind of wild thing until my room was completely sanitized. But it’s no fun being on the receiving end of an authoritarian who won’t bother explaining, so even though it was tiresome, I tried to always explain things to my kids.
“Mom, why do I have to brush my teeth?”
“Because I said, err, because if you don’t spiders will crawl in your mouth at night because they love foul smells.”
The reason I thought about this is that someone I’ve known for years is turning out just like her father. He was always overweight and in his last years he didn’t have the energy to get out of a chair. She’s getting to be the same way. She says she’s “depressed,” but I think she’s just following the family tradition.
My theory is that all people are programmed as infants to be like their parents. The spunky ones take everything in, imitate the good things and fight the bad. The reason it takes a spunky person to do this is because climbing out of the mold takes a lot of energy. You keep sliding back down into that earlier learned behavior.
For example, my mom was an accomplished overeater, and so was her mom before her. I would watch the two of them shoveling food like they were trying to fill up a deep well, and decided that I did not want to be that way. I have their same appetite and I love eating almost better than anything in the world, besides writing this blog for you, my loyal readers, but I refuse to eat so much I get big.
If I were a lazy person, I would just give in to it. In fact, it wouldn’t occur to me to fight it. I wouldn’t even know there was a battle. I’d be glued to some trashy shows on TV and never notice anything except that the bag of pork rinds was almost empty and who could I get to bring me another one. That’s as far as my powers of observation would extend.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being like your parents. My mother was the best momma in the world. I do many things just like her on purpose. She had this fantastic laugh that I try to imitate. Hers was deep and throaty, like a hyena with a bullfrog’s voice. My dad had many good points too. I’m just saying that it wouldn’t hurt you to take a look at what your parents were like and see if the things you’re doing now are imitating their bad points. If that’s the case, then get off your lazy kiester and get your own pork rinds, and bring me a bag, too.