Jan 312008
 

“What if everybody in the world was exactly like you?” is a question I’ve heard asked in relation to your character. It usually means, what if everybody had the same ethics as you, or whatever everybody was just as hard working as you.  I’ve often dismissed this as a theoretical sort of question. An interesting excersize and nothing more.

However, recently I’ve started to think about how similar children are to parents. Its almost a cliche at this point out the stubbornness of both parent and child. For example, I’ve discovered that a number of my cute neuroses come from my mother. I wash my hands a number of times, for example, and my mother is likewise a germaphone. I used to have problems with procrastination–I always wanted to wait until I had a really good idea and was in a really good mood to write something before I wrote it, and my mother did that, too. She is also a very nice and ethical person and that’s something important that we’ve inherited, too.

We project our feelings and expectations on other people, and a lot of times those expectations come from other people, as well, and usually our families. Which is important, considering how important a role families have in shaping our personalities. That means that your communication style is probably very familiar to your family’s. As an example, say your family did not talk about feelings. Odds are you don’t talk about your feelings much either. Think about things that your family does, particularly people who do specific things that you dislike. You just might do those things, too.

But think about this for a moment: You’re probably going to someday have, or already have, kids. Who you are is what kids learn. They do as you do, not what you say. The only way to teach kids is to be that way. If your kids are going to be very similar to you, would you be proud of them? Is who you are right now something you’d like to pass onto another person? If not, then what would you like to change? What are you doing well that you’d be proud of to see in your child?

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