Family Histories: Family Traits Good and Bad

“They said in the D.A.R.E. class that since my real mother did drugs Then I probably would too.”

(D.A.R.E. is the anti-drug class taught in many public schools in the U.S.)

This is why too much information given to children may sometimes be a bad thing. Our newly adopted daughter is only mildly intellectually disabled which really means that she seems “normal” until you realize that everything you say to her she takes literally. Some of you may remember the funny antics of Amelia Bedelia the main character of the children’s book series who constantly mixed up things like steaks and stakes.

In real life the concrete thinking goes more like this: My real mom does drugs and smokes. Therefore I will do the same by begging other students through email on my Chrome book during class to let me vape with them.  I will side with the devil and really believe that there is a tiny devil on my shoulder. I will then say I had to try since my mother did and the people teaching the DARE class said I would.

(once my husband caught her bringing to school an inappropriate note. The body parts mentioned in the note were spelled wrong. my husband sarcastically told her to ask her teachers the next time about the spelling — and so she did the next day).

Anyway, it made me think about how our parents affect us. Sometimes we like to blame parents for everything — I think  this is a trap to keep us from reaching our full potential –and sometimes we neglect looking back in gratitude for some of the better traits they’ve passed down to us.

With the holidays in full swing most of us are probably thinking a lot about family memories — the good and bad. Or maybe we are dreading seeing parents over the holidays …

Lately I’ve been getting deep into my genealogy and wondering which strands of DNA have been passed down to me. Am I more like the stoic and heroic men and women on my mother’s Dutch/English side of the tree or more like my father’s Irish side with its sentimental streak and love of the underdog? Am I fearful of the neighbors because of the peasant blood of my father? Am I rebellious when it comes to religion because my great grandfathers were all seekers?

On both sides of my family is a deep love for humanity and storytelling and for those things I am truly grateful — fear and self-loathing, not so much.

Now what about you? What family traits are you most proud of and which would you rather were tossed a few generations back?

Please let us know in the comments. It may be cathartic. LOL.

“Characters so deep you follow them into the abyss, hoping to come out unscathed, but never returning the same. They will haunt me forever.”

2 responses to “Family Histories: Family Traits Good and Bad”

  1. That made me laugh, ‘taking’ an inappropriate word to school to get it spellchecked. Hmm ‘family traits………’ now there’s a question. I to have traced my genealogy back several generations and it’s almost spooky that I both resemble and have identical character traits as my father’s ancestors………….. I say spooky because exactly the same can said of my sibling but on my mother’s side, sometimes I watch my sibling go about life with his morals outlook personality and humour, it’s as if being with my Grandfather again……… like I said spooky!


  2. We’re colored by our personal history, shaped by how we are nurtured, but ultimately we have to make choices. More than blame, I like to remind people that no one is a self made person – we all stand on the shoulders of others who lift us and give us opportunities.

    Still, there’s the issue of genetics. Your new daughter will overcome many of her problems because of the healthy home she now lives in, but some of her learning challenges are likely to be with her all her life. I’m an idiot at math – my mom found it hard also but my dad was brilliant. I should have studied harder but I was not bound for a mathematics career.

    As usual, you gave me lots to think about in this post.


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