Macaroni and cheese. The symbol of childhood and childlike behavior everywhere in America. People love it, thrive off of it even. Except for me. From a young age I can remember watching commercials on TV of the little boy enjoying his macaroni and cheese and the ooey-gooey-goodness it seemed to encapsulate. All I saw was the cheese I loved on my sandwiches, melted and smothered onto pasta that is perfectly delicious by itself. My child-like mind couldn’t comprehend the monstrosity before me.
As I grew, my parents consistently tried to feed me mac and cheese, claiming I had grown and that my taste buds had changed, yet I still found mac and cheese utterly disgusting.
My dad, a macaroni and cheese aficionado, went through a month-long phase exploring every combination of pasta and cheese he could come up with. He even went so far as to mix in tuna fish.
The more I grew, the greater I realized that my parents weren’t trying to torture me with their cheesy pasta bombs, they were trying to share a prevalent part of their childhood with their oldest daughter. This realization caused me to think about the various other ways my parents ideas and likes had affected me. Such as when I played basketball throughout elementary and middle school, or my interest in understanding electronics. Both of these things I can consider to have been developed from the interests my father expressed during my childhood. Hearing about my father’s childhood love of basketball or the time he attempted to take apart and study the insides of an alarm clock fascinated me. With my mother, I can say that I may have gotten my love of cooking and baking as well as my interest in musical instruments, from watching her cook and play the piano from a young age.
Children often desire to copy their parents, and this usually shapes their views on the world later in life. In an alternate sense, parents can put immense pressures onto their children without realizing it. A child can be considered by some people as a re-do, as a chance to fix the mistakes they made in their past by keeping their child from making the same choices. In this sense, children are a sort of means of immortality for parents. This isn’t necessarily bad, for it has been occurring throughout our history with no specifically clear consequences. Interference with these impressions only start to appear when children learn to develop individual ideas. Then a child must choose: Will they accept the guiding hand their parents have thrust out to them? A stage of rebellion tends to ultimately occur, in which case the child, while thinking they are now an adult, is still a child.
Choosing to constantly oppose a guiding force does not tend to display thoughtful advancement. The way a child can ascend past the stage of childhood is by learning to appreciate their parents’ “pressuring”.
I have gained the ability to consider another person’s ideas and then decide whether I agree or disagree with them based on my own knowledge and previous ideals, instead of either immediately running to my parents for advice or stating a resounding ‘no’ in rebellion when I receive it.
The generation of the younger me’s ability to accept my parents’ love of macaroni and cheese but also respectfully decline it without a disgusted facial expression or apathetic “ew” marks my growth of maturity, and therefore my transition into adulthood.
This piece written for a college essay prompt: “Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.”
Written by Kristina L. for Mrs. O’rourke’s English class.
-Images by students from Mr. Emmert’s Photo 1 and Photo AP classes.