Hereditary Traits

You’ve probably had those moments where you realise you are indeed like your parents in some of their habits and behaviours. That may even be true for those that you promised yourself you’d not repeat when you grew up. Oh, the agony of realising that despite your best efforts, indeed perhaps because of them, you are like your parents in ways you’d rather was not the case.

Checking out DNA and hereditary characteristics
Checking out DNA and hereditary characteristics

That is not to say parents are bad. I have been a child of parents. I know there are definitely things they did that I did not wish to reproduce in my life. I am also a parent, and I get that at times my kids say, to themselves if not always out loud, “Dad, you’re weird. I will not be like that when I am older.” Good luck!

My dad left the family when I was turning 8. Now, after 40 years without contact we are developing a relationship, getting to know each other. Even with such a short period of influence on my life it is really surprising and interesting to realise that in so many ways I really am like him. Like magic… got you! I have found creative ways to exhibit some of his behaviours in my life. For example, I swore I’d never be into cars, gleaning more performance for racing, as I remembered him doing. Not me! Instead I spend my energy on my computer creating a better system for myself. Same behaviour, different application!

The flip-side to this is that I am also learning a lot that is great about him, and also about myself. I know more of his background that shaped him, and as a consequence understand some of the areas I have had to work on for myself. For example, I had often been in survival mode, expecting the world to deal with me harshly, and generally expecting the worst. Not all of that can be placed on my dad, but I now know he lived through the Second World War in London, was very much in survival mode, and on any given day there could be news that someone who mattered was dead. I have not been through a war yet I can see the influence of his war experiences in how I have lived my life.

What have you inherited from your parents? It can be an illuminating experience to review your behaviours, attitudes, beliefs, (including prejudices) and check which parent contributed them to you. Have fun!

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