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Family Relationship

Statements such as “the apple does not fall far from the tree” or “you can take a person out of the country, but you can not take the country out of the person” reflect how people’s past play important roles in who they become. These statements are true to some degree, because everyone is to some degree shaped and affected by his past. I have experienced this and witnessed it many times. The essay written by Hooks reflects these statements when she describes how she felt when she left her home for college and how the more time she spent away the more emotionally separated she became from her home.

She, like many people, was torn between the family and friends who influenced her as she grew up and the hopes she had for her future. Hooks was forced to make a choice between following the advice and wishes of her family by staying close to home and failing to live up to her potential, and choosing to fulfill her dreams to discover what she was capable of. She and most people in society strove to reach a balance between the two options. All people are part of the people who raised them and spend much of life learning how to deal with that.

Many of us choose to live in a way similar to the lifestyles of our parents due to a fear of leaving our comfort zone or due to pressure to be like those close to us. Hooks grew up as an intelligent person who liked to read to improve her education. Her parents attempted to provide her with the material she needed to increase her knowledge and education, but used that material against her when she made choices they did not approve of. They demonstrated a desire to see her achieve, but not to surpass them.

They used statements such as asking her why she would want to go away from her people and asking her why she could not go to a local college, because they did not see the difference between colleges. I have seen this happen many times in which people chose to get married and raise children or go to work straight out of high school, because working class parents saw that lifestyle as being successful. In these cases, the family members are supportive and claim to want the children to be successful, but feel that the life they have chosen is successful.

When the young people make the choice to follow their parent’s footsteps without exploring other options, they do not find out what they could have achieved. In Hooks case, she chose to follow her own dreams in order to find out what she wanted out of life. People who do this might in the end go back to the way they were raised, but in this case it is an educated choice and the person does not go through life wondering what could have happened. Some choose a different career, home and lifestyle. This is what Hooks chose to do.

It did not make her care any less about her family or her past, because she continued to go home to visit them. She was, however disappointed that her family did not appear proud of her accomplishments, but rather made her feel guilty for her success. They pointed out that she was not better than them because she was better educated. In the cases I have witnessed of people choosing a different lifestyle than their parents, the people did not do it to make their family feel inferior. Most of them wanted to make their parents proud.

Some of the parents were proud of the accomplishments of children who became doctors. Other parents had similar reactions to that of Hook’s family, because of jealousy for their children’s accomplishments; they attempted to make them feel inferior or guilty. Situations like these leave people conflicted. Most people have dreams as children and want to accomplish those dreams. Few people’s dreams involve janitorial work or digging ditches. Some people choose this later in life, but it should be a choice and not a choice made due to pressure to settle simply to be like family members.

People should pursue dreams, talents and interests to see if those are what the person is good at. Anyone who settles due to circumstances or guilt will never be fully satisfied with that decision and will always wonder if dreams could have been accomplished. Parents should encourage children to follow dreams even if they appear unrealistic. Most people eventually realize that unrealistic dreams are not going to be accomplished and find other interests, but if they do not pursue the interests they will spend years wondering what could have happened.

Some people do accomplish the dreams. There are professional athletes, movie stars and astronauts, therefore few dreams are truly unrealistic. Most children, like Hooks want the approval of their parents, and those who do not get it always feel unfulfilled even if their dreams are met. They do not pursue dreams to make others feel inferior, but simply to realize the potential they were born with and parents need to understand that.

Parents need to be supportive and positive rather than being jealous and upset about their own unfulfilled dreams. Hooks continued trying to get the approval of her family, by going back to visit, but continued to fail. This was evidenced by the feeling she described as she waited for the bus, which she said seemed to take her farther away each time. This is what happens when parents fail to support their children. They eventually create a divide wide enough it can no longer be bridged.

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