Like Father Like Son

The age old question of how significantly our parents influence who we are (and by extension who we grow up to be) has been long debated and disputed. In her piece In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens Alice Walker argues that our parents and those who come before us have a great impact on who we become and, furthermore, that we exist as marks of what they achieved. She says “Perhaps Phillis Wheatley’s mother was also an artist. Perhaps in more than Phillis Wheatley’s biological life is her mother’s signature made clear” (409). This sentiment reminded me of the very first slam poem I ever heard, “Knock knock” by Daniel Beaty. In the poem Beaty, speaking from his father’s perspective, says “the best of me still lives in you.” Both Walker and Beaty explore the idea that we exist as the legacies of our parents, of those that came before us. It is not an uncommon philosophy that humans, on a fundamental level, are working to leave their mark on this world and I am intrigued by the notion that one of the ways through which we try to do this, as evinced by Beaty and Walker, is through our children.