We are not our parents. We live our own lives and think our own thoughts. But we have been sculpted by our parents, and while we are our own selves, we bear an impression of their handiwork, as an artist’s sculpture can have been created by none in the exact way as its original artisan. In that way, we are like living sculptures; we shape our own images, but our parents have a hand in the subtle details.
To those who know me, the traits my mother has imparted are fairly clear. My love of reading is evident enough, and the Celtic music which she played in her car came to inform my tastes. But these traits did not come out in carbon copies; rather, they are subtle influences, impressions which manifested uniquely within me. My mother loves classic literature, I love fantasy, horror, and science fiction. My mother played Celtic music for my sister and I, and now I listen to folk/pagan metal. The influence is clear, the manifestation unique.
What, you may ask then, did I get from my father? This is a good question. My father is an accomplished athlete, dedicated to fitness, endurance, and pushing his physical limitations in both competitive and self-motivated feats of prowess. I, conversely, am a portly gent who detests cardio, plays RPGs, and writes fantasy stories. I’m a bit shy of confrontation, I prefer my dark, air-conditioned room to a rough biking course, and I’m on record as having gotten all sniffly at the end of a Disney Fairies movie. What, then, could I have in common with my father? How great is his impression on me? More than you could possibly imagine.
As my mother’s classic literature and soothing music became my fantasy and heavy metal, my father’s traits became mine in their own way. Speed, strength, and dexterity are profound skills, and even more profoundly beyond me, but it is the mind driving those triumphs of will that has been imparted unto me. My father taught me to win. My father taught me to find a goal, evaluate what stands between me and my objective, and do everything within my power to get from point A to point B. He taught me to never let others dictate my limits. As he persevered in the face of racial discrimination, so I persevere in the face of ableism. No one tells me who I am and what I can do, because my father never let anyone do any such thing to him. My father taught me to shrug off the judgments of others as easily as he out-maneuvered opponents on the field, and out-performed those who doubted him off the field. As an immigrant to this country, he faced a nation determined to dictate his career path, and they did not intend it to get far. So my father blazed a new trail, a better trail. As a child, I was told my blindness would effect my intellectual capacity, that I would never form a coherent sentence. My dad now holds his Master’s degree and has a career of many great successes. I am now a published author. He taught me to be who I now am.
This is my father’s impression, the way in which he sculpted me. As he sets his mind on a new task and deftly overcomes each obstacle in his way, so has he taught me to do the same. His victories are on the field or in the gym, mine are in Skyrim or on the D&D table, and just as he expertly handles his career with an endearing consideration for his coworkers and students, so have I learned these same mannerisms in my own career path. He has given me the drive to seek my desires, the strength to shake off my critics, and above all, the will to win. This is my father, and his impression is upon me, shaping the man I have become.