PLEDGE NOW
Turning Into Your Parents

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 MailMaybe 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.”

Playlist

When Doves Cry — Prince

Like My Mother Does — Lauren Alaina

 

.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 6, 2015
President Barack Obama speaks during services honoring the life of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C., at the College of Charleston TD Arena. Pinckney was one of the nine people killed in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church last week in Charleston.  (AP)

How should we talk about faith and God in these uncertain times? We put that tough question—and more—to a roundtable of religious thinkers.

Jul 6, 2015
A still from the upcoming documentary film, "Tough Love." (Courtesy PBS / The Filmmakers)

An intimate look at the foster care system from the perspective of two families struggling to reunite with their children.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 3, 2015
Harmonica master Howard Levy, in a photo dated February 2012. (Courtesy the Artist)

Harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy tears it up with us. From Bach to the blues.

 
Jul 3, 2015
Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally organized by supporters of the YES vote for the upcoming referendum in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens, Tuesday, June 30, 2015 Greece's European creditors were assessing a last-minute proposal Athens made for a new two-year rescue deal, submitted just hours before the country's international bailout program expires and it loses access to billions of euros in funds. (AP)

Overtime pay. Diplomatic ties with Cuba. Greece defaults. Iran deadline missed. Chris Christie jumps in. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 3, 2015
Friday, Jul 3, 2015

We made a lot of last-minute programming changes these past few weeks, and you stuck around with us through it all. Thanks!

More »
1 Comment
 
Election 2016: Who Exactly Is Running For President?
Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015

Who is running for President, anyway? We attempt to help you figure it out.

More »
9 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: June 19, 2015
Friday, Jun 19, 2015

Why our broadcast changed in different markets this week, and a closer look at a puppet theatre vandalism in rural Norway. (Really).

More »
Comment