PLEDGE NOW
Turning Into Your Parents

Rebroadcast From January 22, 2013

The real parent trap. “I’m turning into my parents.”

Family photo (Flickr/Michael Hanscom)

Family photo (Flickr/Michael Hanscom)

We set out to be our own people. Our own men. Our own women. With our own ways and voices and views. And then there comes a moment – maybe quickly, maybe in middle age, maybe late – when we turn around and think “I have become my parents.”

My father. My mother. In a tone of voice, or a turn of phrase. A way of buttering toast. Or of seeing the world. Or of treating the world. We may welcome it. We may abhor it. It’s hard to dodge it.

This hour, On Point: becoming our parents.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

James Wood, literary critic, essayist and novelist. Staff writer at the New Yorker magazine, where his new essay is “Becoming Them: Our Parents, Our Selves.” Professor of the practice of literary criticism at Harvard University.

Vanessa Jackson, licensed clinical social worker.

From Tom’s Reading List

Psychology Today — “Once it was a girl’s dream to be just like her mom. Now it’s more like every woman’s nightmare. Yet it happens to us all. Like Eliza we hear our mother’s words leaving our own mouths, or we look in a mirror and catch a glimpse of a familiar expression – not our own – and, as we get older, we see surprising reflections of our mother stare back at us every time we wash our face or brush our teeth”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch — “‘If you guys don’t turn off that television, I’m going to throw it out of the window,’ I told my children. With great flourish, I unplugged the cable wires and waved them around as if the TV-tossing was imminent. ‘This thing is turning your brain into vegetables!’ Right then, it hit me: I had turned into my parents. Throughout my childhood, I had heard them threaten all sorts of damage to the TV set.”

Daily Mail — “Maybe it’s because my wife is pregnant with our first child. Maybe it’s because a nursery has been built in what used to be the attic and I’ve started thinking about schools.  Or ­possibly it’s because in sympathy with my wife’s expansion over the past few months, I have swelled to 13st and taken to wearing V-neck jumpers over a shirt and tie. But whatever it is, the moment has finally come when I have started turning into my father.”

 

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
RECENT
SHOWS
Jun 9, 2016

Newly-minted college graduates on the job hunt. We’ll look at who’s hiring, starting salaries, and strategies for landing that first job.

 
Jun 9, 2016

Europe, India and China, are taking on American tech giants over privacy, monopolies, and more. We’ll look at the global technology pushback against the U.S.A.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Jessica Valenti: ‘Objectification Is About Dehumanizing People’
Wednesday, Jun 8, 2016

“There is some power in laying claim to the word victim.” — Jessica Valenti on the Stanford sexual assault case, and the importance of language.

More »
Comment
 
Why The ‘Roots’ Remake Matters (And What Stays The Same)
Tuesday, Jun 7, 2016

The recent remake of “Roots” on the History Channel makes important changes, Morehouse College’s Stephane Dunn argues. But it also holds true to the original story.

More »
Comment
 
Former Trump Advisor Roger Stone: ‘Trump’s Going To Be The Next President’
Monday, Jun 6, 2016

Longtime political consultant Roger Stone apologizes for his “two martini tweets,” even as he predicts Donald Trump will be the next U.S. president.

More »
Comment