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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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You’re not so different from your parents

Our similarities don’t have to be a bad thing
(Graphic by Caroline Dollar /The Battalion)

Despite being a few decades apart in age from my mother sorry in advance for showing your age we’re actually fairly similar. Since retiring last month, she’s taken up a strong liking to spontaneous road trips, overnight hobbies and has even formed an unhealthy addiction to Pokémon Go. 

This got me thinking. While you may think of your dad as the guy who wears Nike Monarchs while he mows the grass and your mom as someone who enjoys one too many glasses of wine during her midweek murder mystery binging sessions, we’re actually more similar to them than you may think. 

From our mutual hatred for the 40-hour workweek to the egregious spending habits we consider necessary for our self-care, we’re just younger versions of the people who made us. 

Do you have a plastic bag filled with dozens of other plastic bags? Do you show off pictures of your amateur homemade dishes? Do you have that one semi-unique thing in your apartment — perhaps a vinyl collection, an expensive bottle of liquor or a Polaroid wall — you show every houseguest? 

Congrats, you’re like your parents. 

After coming to this realization, perhaps after a short gasp accompanied by plausible deniability, I’m willing to bet you weren’t pleased. In fact, you might even be listing off a myriad of excuses as to why this is. My favorite being “You know, they did raise me after all.”

But isn’t it strange that when someone suggests that we behave, look or even share a slight resemblance to our parents, our first instinct is to get defensive?   

Just look at the ongoing series of Progressive commercials that show “Dr. Rick” teaching young homeowners how not to become their parents. 

Albeit, they’re hilarious, but this then begs the question: what if instead of keeping the traits that have made the intergenerational leap at arm’s length, we instead embraced the fact that our parents’ qualities rubbed off on us at all? 

While it may seem a bit over-dramatic to suggest that we should appreciate our father’s frugalness, our mother’s multi-tasking ability or whatever other characteristics that come to mind when picturing our parents, these are traits that have made a lasting impression on us. A coincidence, I think not!  

As much as our parents would like to be thought of as the all-knowing deities we go to for advice who are incapable of making mistakes, by now, we’ve seen them for all they are. Blemishes and all, however, this is what makes holding onto their most memorable attributes even more significant. 

What these qualities represent are the lessons they’ve learned and made a part of themselves. If you add up enough of them, you get the very values and beliefs that make your parents, your parents. That’s what memories are made of, and ultimately, their job in a nutshell because, unfortunately, they won’t be with us forever. 

As you’ve noticed by now, you’re not perfect either, which means you’re bound to fail at some point. Not to worry though, because what your parents have left you is a playbook on how to deal with life’s challenges. 

Now, you’re starting to realize that maybe there was a method to their madness. Granted, not everything they did was some aphorism for how to make it in life, but again, I’m willing to bet some of the things you rolled your eyes at growing up are now common practices in your own life. 

My own example is my mother refusing to turn on the heat during the winter months in Texas. She would always tell me to just put on more clothes or get a blanket if I was cold. After paying my air conditioning bill for the first time last fall, I soon adopted her practice. 

So this is it. This is your sign. Stop running away from your parents’ habits and instead adopt them. Remember, they are from a time before we existed — like pre-internet times — so, before you roll your eyes at the next time your dad suggests you should be more conscientious of how you spend your money, maybe just take his advice.  

We’ll only be in the protective bubble of college life for so long and then we’ll have real problems like mortgages, car loans and other little human beings to worry about. 

Likewise, they should do the same. While they may be full of wisdom, they’re not without their own set of flaws. Dads, ditch the tube socks and cargo shorts. Moms, start venturing outside of Bath and Body Works for gifts. 

We can learn from each other and at the end of the day, it’s entirely up to us just how similar to our parents we want to be. 

Benjamin Barnes is a telecommunication media studies senior and opinion columnist for The Battalion.

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About the Contributor
Bj Barnes
Bj Barnes, Opinion Columnist
Benjamin Barnes is a Telecommunication Media Studies senior from Rochester, Indiana. Barnes' has been involved with The Battalion since his junior year and plans to start his own media group following graduation. If he's not writing, he's most likely watching a Texans game or at the gym.
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