Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Daddy's Little Girl

My Grandmother and I were chatting on the phone last night about how my parents raised me versus how my cousin Jeff's parents raised him. My Grandmother had two children. Her son is my cousin's father. Her daughter is my mother.

Jeff was raised with importance placed on academics. His father, a chemist, felt that life falls into place after one has excelled academically. His mother, a geneticist, felt that self-esteem is found by taking pride in one's accomplishments. My cousin is extremely smart, excellently gifted at problem solving, a great listener, and a truly compassionate human being. He's reached a point in his life where he has found self-esteem in his work and his friendships. However, he's begun to reexamine how he'll be able to show that off to the world. He'd like to figure out how to create a great first impression.

I was raised with importance placed on standing out in a crowd. My father, a surgeon, felt that life falls into place after one has properly marketed themselves. My mother, an occupational therapist with a master's in counseling, felt that self-esteem is found in taking pride in one's appearance and manners. I have a need to make everything in my life beautiful. I want my friends happy, my clothing without wrinkles, my hair coifed, and my apartment stunning. My father used to tell me that if I wanted to work in the field of marketing, I must first learn to sell myself. I've reached a point in my life where I have found my self-esteem in my work and my friendships. However, I've begun to reexamine how I speak to the world. I'd like to figure out how to create a lasting impression.

It's quite funny that my cousin and I came from the same family. Our common ground is that we're both constantly seeking ways to better ourselves and the world around us.

I have been sorting through the teachings of my mother and father in attempt to gain an understanding of who I am and how I got here. From my analysis, here are the top 8 things I have learned from my parents.

1. The 3 differences between man and animal are the ability to resist temptation, knowing the difference between right and wrong, and the awareness of a tomorrow. My father.
2. You cannot make a first impression twice. Market yourself to the world and people will listen to you. My father.
3. Selfish people will eventually have anger engulf them. My mother.
4. Class is something money cannot buy. My mother.
5. Always want the best for yourself, and you will attain it. My father.
6. Classic clothing will always look more expensive than trendy pieces. My mother.
7. Work hard to give the ones you love things they love. My father.
8. Nothing can compare to sharing an experience with someone else. No material possession can replace a memory. Both my parents.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking about a quiz I took the other day which asked me to choose 2 words that other people often use to describe me. Caring and Polite. I suppose my parents must have done a good job. Funny enough, I'd use the words to describe my cousin too. And my Grandmother. My Aunt, Uncle and my parents all uphold most of the things I've listed above. Perhaps parents must show their children how to act. Perhaps teaching and preaching is not necessarily the only way to success. My cousin and I are both good people with good hearts and ambition. We're both flawed and seeking perfection. Neither of us is accepting of anything short of ideal. Strangely enough, we probably balance out one another in the same way as my mother and his father. I bring beauty to his life. He brings pragmatic thinking to mine. And I guess in conclusion, ambition to have perfection is the underlying theme in our family. Not such a bad thing. Not at all.


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