At 8.30 this morning I remembered I had a parent teacher interview with Diesel’s teacher. Which was at 8.30. Considering it’s a good ten minute drive to the school and then a five minute walk dragging three kids up to the classroom, we were going to be quite late.
Thankfully his supremely patient and lovely teacher was happy to squeeze in a quick chat before the bell. She had no particular issues with him, and I didn’t expect any. He’s a bright kid and he seems to enjoy school. He has made friends easily.
The things she did mention though, are all too familiar.
He is quick to raise his hand but hesitant to answer questions.
He is quiet in class and rarely speaks up.
He doesn’t respond well to confrontation or discipline, and will refuse to make eye contact.
He can hang back at the start of the school day when confronted with all of his class mates at once.
As I have mentioned before, he is so much like me in many ways. We share a fear of confrontation. Social situations, particularly where there are a lot of people in once place, bring on an illogical anxiety. We are not keen on public speaking.
Yes, I am all of these things, but I don’t feel that I have ever modelled them in front of him. Particularly in recent years, I have learnt to overcome most of these fears, at least on the outside. He wouldn’t know that my heart is beating too fast within my chest on the way to a party. He hasn’t seen me sweat before addressing a crowd.
So how is he so much like me? How can these fears be contained within a random piece of DNA? How could I, without meaning to or wanting to, pass on these slivers of my personality that he will have to learn to deal with as he moves through his life?
I try not to feel guilty. Instead, I try to feel grateful that I know how he feels and that perhaps I can help him navigate through the tough times. That maybe he will be better and stronger and more resilient than I was. Achieve more, be more and change more.
Is there anything you passed on to your kids that you wish you hadn’t? Do you think genetics influence personality more than environment, or the other way around?