|fear (Photo credit: siette)|
We inherit many of our physical traits directly from our parents. Our hair color, physical build, or facial features will more often than not be similar to how one of our parents looked. Now I can look in the mirror and see a very distinct resemblance to my own father. It's in the genes.
Other aspects that may have been passed to us from our parents are not genetic, but cultural preferences, ethics, and beliefs about certain things. Sometimes it may be societal while in other cases they be things that are mostly confined to our own family. Mothers and fathers shape their kids to believe many things whether they intend to or not.
Since I was a small child I've been told negative things about cats. My father was never particularly fond of felines, but he never said much about the subject. On the other hand my mother would tell eerie stories about cats and cat owners she had known in her life. Many times she would come right out and say that she hated cats. In turn I grew up intensely disliking cats and having a bit of a fear about them.
My mother used to tell a story about how she almost drowned when she was a girl. I can also remember riding in the car on a road that followed closely alongside a river and my mother being very afraid. Sensing her fear, I too became afraid that we might run off the road into the water and drown. We never went swimming many times when I was a small child so I had little experience with being in any water other than the bathtub. My father was a very good swimmer, but I did not see him swim very many times. Later when we moved to San Diego we would often go to the beach, but I would stay away from the water. An aversion to large areas of water had already been instilled in me. I actually never learned to swim until I was in college and took swimming as a physical education class. Even now I am not a good swimmer and haven't been swimming in many years. Being on a boat can make me very uncomfortable. I am not excited about the prospect of having to swim.
Many of my friends learned fix-it skills and craftsmanship from their dads. My dad was never good at things like that and rarely did such work around the house. His father had died when my dad was still fairly young so maybe it was partly for that reason that my father didn't acquire those kinds of skills. Then again his father was a newspaperman and may not have done much in the way of work around the house either. In any case, what basic skills I acquired I either learned on my own or from friends. And believe me, I don't know much. Now I have an unease about doing home repairs and will usually hire somebody to do it for me. My fearing of making things worse if I do them is justified by some of my own bad past experiences. Like my dad I am no handyman and it often scares me to think of trying.
These are all things I could overcome, but they are also part of who I am and have been. I have acquired these attributes from my parents and I'm comfortable with it. Years of habit and hearing the negatives about those things that I fear have made these fears very real for me. In part it's my parents and now it's part of me.
Are there fears that you have acquired from one of your parents? Is there anything that one of your parents greatly feared that you are not at all afraid of? Have you passed any aversions on to your own children? If so, did you intend to pass them on?