Archive for September 8, 2010

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Too Far From the Tree?

In my daily travels, I often see people with their children and I wonder who the child takes after when I observe the way they interact with others, the way they respond to their environment, or the way they adhere to rules or commands.  Then I gaze at the parent, or whom I assume to be the parent, and try to relegate or label them based on their appearance, their demeanor or merely by picking up any energy I sense.  Believe it or not, just watching the child can oftentimes give me some insight into the parenting of the mother, father or both.  Why do I do this, primarily to prepare myself in the event our interaction goes beyond a cursory or fleeting one.  I tend to tailor my countenance, my body language and even my reception to another by the observation I make of them, their offspring, then them again.  I can be really jovial and welcoming when I see a well-mannered but equally vivacious kid.  But if I notice an irreverent child, who is too rambunctious for even his or her parent, well then I give off this “don’t even think about coming anywhere near me” expression.

We have all heard the saying that “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree” particularly when we are talking negatively  about someone’s child or adult child.  The funny thing is that I usually hear this aphorism with regards to a father and his son or a mother and her daughter, as if only boys imitate their fathers  and vice versa.  While it is obvious that a son who watches his father live an unremarkable life or engage in sociopathic behavior will be more likely to mimic that, or daughter for that matter, how do we explain when this is not the case.  Should we attribute a boy who has grown up to be an upstanding member of society to sheer luck when his father was no choir boy.  Or should we credit that father in taking efforts in ensuring that his son did not grow up to be anything like him, leading down a more favorable path.  Well, there is no set answer.  In my travels, as an attorney, counselor, etc. I met young boys who were habitual troublemakers, and I automatically assumed that either his  father was not in his life or that his father was confined to state prison.  But after being wrong on a number of occasions, I had to accept and appreciate, that it has little do with the example of a man he had in his life.  No, more often than not it had to do with how that child felt about himself.   As parents we contribute or have significant impact on how our children value themselves but overall there are other factors that contribute to the type of person they grow up to be.

This woman I met recently told me that as she raised her five children, that she lived a model life for them choosing to forego or refrain from partaking in certain activities.  She maintained the life that she wanted her children to live, being exemplary of  a strong and purposeful individual.  I believe that we should all revert to this way of being too, but unfortunately it does not result in any guarantees.  You can live a pristine life, raise your child to be the same way and the child still grows into being a social misfit.  We must

Apples on a Tree

be mindful, the apple can fall anywhere, it is our job to catch if before it rots!