Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gilgamesh II: Antaeus and Heritability

Antaeus (from the Heracles myth) receives his great physical strength from Gaea, his mother. What strengths do you possess? What skills or ability? From whom did you receive them?

Like Anteaus, who received strength from his mother, I received many gifts from my own parents. My father is a professor at Iowa State in Veterinary Medicine. He is a very clear, careful, and logical thinker. He is a disciplined, hardworking person who has a wide range of interests. Despite a demanding career, my Dad always made time for his family. I inherited some of his habits of mind, as well as his sense of the importance of spending time with the ones you love. For a scientist, my Dad is unusually verbal, a trait that his son also exhibits. I find great satisfaction in teaching and spending time in community with other artists and intellectuals.

My mother was always very available, nurturing, and amiable. She was a homemaker for most of her life and, indeed, made a very good home for my sister and me. One of the greatest gifts my mother gave me was a love of reading. I can remember many an evening when the whole family would sit in the living room and listen to hear read. My Mom also instilled in me the idea that other people were important and worth treating well. My mother’s relentless kindness is a habit I seek to incorporate into my own life. Like Antaeus, who “immediately became much stronger” (103-104) at his mother’s touch, my mother’s presence has been a great source of strength for me.

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