In my early years my father was my idol. I wanted to be exactly like him; look like him, talk like him, laugh like him, but as I aged my idol changed, my ideals expanded and I no longer looked towards my father for guidance. I began to notice his faults. I noticed his problems with spending more than his means, his temper, his mannerisms at the table, his flirting with women, his enthusiasm towards fun rather than work, and his approach at dilemmas.
I was an hour late passed curfew and I had snuck in through the back door of my house. I opened my bedroom door and saw my father lying watching Conan Obrien, a TV sitcom. He stood up and immediately began screaming my punishments and woke up everyone in the house. I stood there, as usual, and listened to him discern me because I broke a house rule. “Do you not get it! I told you to be home by midnight!” He always stopped to huff and puff as if he needed to catch more air to yell even louder. He believed that showing dominance, belittling me, and inputting a sense of fear would keep me in check- it didn’t work. I had learned to ignore everything and used this to instill the idea that I should grow up and be the opposite.
I had got back to shore from surfing and noticed someone sitting beside my father. He had his anger, but he was genuinely a people person, you just never want to get him mad. I walked up and noticed him flirting with this single mother. When she had left, I joked with my father and said, “Mom’s finding out about this.” On the ride back home he said that he wasn’t flirting, that he was just talking. He tried to teach me that speaking to other women is not flirting, nor cheating. That it was always good to know people and have friends of both genders. I saw this as brainwash and again had a new goal at being a single-woman man and only to that one woman would I joke with. I also told myself that speaking to other women besides my girlfriend/wife is cheating.
I am now 18, in college, and have my life ahead of me. And as I look at some events that have unfolded in these couple weeks here in college, I have noticed that through all my wanting and dedication at being “better” than my father, I actually am more like him than I would have hoped. I, like him, have a way with words, and have the ability to grab an audience, more specifically women. I have caught myself yelling at my brothers over the phone trying to get them to do what I want by belittling and threatening them. I also find myself doing small motions and using quotes he would. I am my father, but I am in respect, my own persona. I do carry his temper, his flirtatious ways, his problem with spending, but I also have learned to be humble, moderate, compassionate, aware of my budget, studious, and stable.
I believe that our parents will instill themselves in their children, much like my father and I. And that it is inevitable, that no matter if one says they despise their parents, that they’re nothing like them, there is something resembling them, not just genes.
I love my father. He’s never abused us, he’s never cheated on my mother, he has never missed a baseball game, a volleyball tournament, a ballet recital, or a cheer competition for any of his children. He is the best father there is, but he has his issues, and I had hoped to be nothing like him in that manner, but I am.
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