It is hard to grow up and not become our parents.
Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory states that humans learn from one another, via observation, imitation and modeling. We do as we see; we model our actions after those that surround us. For the average person, those who surround us most in our youth and throughout our development, are our family. More specifically, they are our parents. They are our entire world for the good first chunk of our lifetime. They are our only example of what we are supposed to become. So we grow up, we look up to them, we hit the teen stage and begin to resent them, and we get ready to fly the coop and leave them. Eighteen year-olds cringe at the idea of growing up to become their parents: settling for suburbia, having not-so-exciting-but-well-paying jobs, and driving mini-vans. But honestly, most of those kids “get wise” after a few years, and much like Alaskan salmon, return to their places of childhood to raise families and settle down.
My mom is superwoman. She is a prosecutor for murder trials; she deals with more disturbing instances of evil in a week than most deal with in their lifetime. I have looked up to my mom since I was little; she was always the strong one who inspired me to beat the boys in sports. She said girls were tough. I wanted to be tough like her. My mom is also an alcoholic. She is functional, she goes to work everyday and comes home every night and loves our family more than we could ask. She is a great mom. But she never goes a day with out a drink. No one really knows, and the people who do, won’t admit it. My aunt died two years ago of a lifetime of alcoholism. It runs heavily on both sides of my family. I will not grow up to be an alcoholic. I would be so proud to achieve half of the things that my mom has as a mom and as a professional and as a woman, but I will not give into the vice of alcoholism like she has.
I have never had a drink, which, as a sixteen year-old in a suburb of rich white kids, is unheard of. I am not one for caring what people think about me, but I am proud to have that conversation with people each and every time. “You don’t drink?” “Nope, never have, never will. I just don’t want to.” People accept it; but it sincerely confuses them.
I believe it is difficult not to become our parents; but there are chances that we get where seeing what our parents have become helps us to make decisions that make us better people than they were. I am still working up the courage to tell my mom that I am proud of her and she is too inspiring to be lost to a disease that I believe she is strong enough to overcome; but I will always stick up for my right to not carry that burden.
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