My Parents vs. Me

   by Sujin Headrick

Sadly, children and adolescents are often judged based on their parents’ appearances. However, if someone decided to judge me based on my parents, that individual would be misled. When I was born, I looked like another Headrick, complete with the dark brown hair and brown eyes. As I grew up, though, my parents realized that I shared almost nothing with them except bloodlines.

My parents, particularly my father, enjoy watching television. Many children recall eating a home-cooked dinner (cooked by the mother, of course) and talking about the day’s events with their families. I remember the home-cooked dinner (as my mother is one of the best cooks I know), but a twenty-four-inch television replaced the family discussion. I tolerated the television for many years, even as I grew older and dubbed the television "the idiot box." My parents insisted that anything worth knowing could be heard on television. I insisted that they were misinformed and that television was not the only source of information. Reminding myself that my parents and I were, after all, different people, I shook my head.

Instead of turning to television for information, though, I turned to books. I hold a "Hermione Granger" philosophy that anything worth knowing can be found in a book. My mother, a native of South Korea, instilled in me a love of books when I was a young girl. This passion, to my father’s fury, remains in me today. While I quote William Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Douglas Adams to my father in response to his ridiculous (and typically grammatically incorrect) questions, he yells back that I am not answering his question. I have to reply that I am answering his question, but I am answering in someone else’s words. He always despised his English classes when he was in school, and he verbally takes out that hatred on me who has a passion for it. My mother, on the other hand, is not an avid reader, but she does encourage my love of books because she began that love. When I read the first word, I made a breach between my parents and me that separates us to this day.

My parents and I also differ in our opinionsabout life in a small town. My father was raised in Ringgold, and as almost everyone knows, the same people stay in Ringgold. That statement sealed my fate for growing up in Ringgold. My parents loved it. They know everyone; everyone knows them; they could find out almost anything they needed to know. My mother works in a small grocery store called Carlock’s Food King; she knows almost everyone who comes in, and many customers stay for at least five minutes "just to talk" before leaving. I, however, find the small-town environment to be oppressive. I do not want the entire town to find out about my awards (or lack of awards). I also did not want the town to find out that I was attending Dalton State College this year unless I told. The town did, though–through my mother. While my parents want me to stay in Ringgold my entire life, I want to move to another town.

Contrary to popular belief, my parents and I have almost nothing in common. While they attempt to mold me in the person that they want me to be, I silently rebel and become my own person. I hope that I continue to do so while continuing to do what is right.

"My Parents vs. Me" is an essay written by Sujin Headrick in Dr. Cecile de Roche’s ENGL 1101 class in fall 2004 semester. At the time of this writing, Ms. Headrick was a PSO student majoring in English and French.

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