The Apple and the Tree

I have been thinking on the subject of habits …. not habitats, but habits, and why I (and other people) do what I (they) do. One of the accidental threads in my book was just that subject, though I didn’t realize it consciously, as I was writing.  My mother always said, “Look at the parents, dear.”  and I love the saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Really, I am beginning to realize that I do what my parents did, which (of course) is in no way any profound or surprising breakthrough in research on human behavior.  Still, it is rather startling to me, to discover this, for I was raised in the generation of women who were better educated and trained in careers than most of the women of my mother’s era.  We were going to be different; we were not just going to be housewives; we were going to do greater things than they, (at least in our plans!).

So, all the while thinking I was so different, I have instead adopted many of the habits of my parents. I spend long weekends at our cabin (though I now know I am wasting fossil fuels getting there and thus drive as infrequently as possible, at other times to atone for it), I eat meat at many dinners (though I fret and try to eat more plant protein, instead) and I clean up the litter along our roadsides (though I worry considerably about germs on the dirty garbage we collect and wear gloves).  I like to believe that these modifications which I have added are improvements on my parents’ lives, but truthfully, I do what I do because of what they did.  I wonder which habits I am passing along to my children… and will my sons improve them?