90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
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.
  • patrick oleary

    …yes — we are lucky — when we grow old enough to see our parents within us ..the gift of life — and death ..
    Happy Thanksgivukkah!

  • Labropotes

    I don’t know where, maybe NPR, but I heard a woman say this, “The other day in the kitchen I was licking frosting off a spoon. My mom came in and said, ‘You should try that with a penis one day.’ And I thought, ‘OMG, I’ve become my mother.’”

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

More »
Comment
 
Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

More »
Comment