You Look Just Like Your Dad: an adopted image

Maybe you’ve experienced this.  When I was a young boy, hanging with my father—mostly on the vegetable farm we owned—people would come around and every once in a while and someone would comment, “you look just like your dad.”  My father would look down at me and give me a little wink.

Have you been told you like your father or mother?  It’s a common thing.  Even now, my youngest son and his wife just had a son.  As we went to see him for the first time, we were trying to pick out the physical qualities that may be from his mother and which ones are from his father (our son).  

The interesting thing about the comments about how I looked like my Dad is that I was adopted.  That’s why my Dad would wink at me.  Not that it was a secret or anything, some people just didn’t know. 

I always loved that interchange, because it was an identity I cherished—to be John Elzinga’s son.  That is who I was and who I am.  How far can you take this identity thing?  Well, my parents were of Dutch descent.  Our last name is Dutch.  So, as far as I am concerned, I am Dutch (even though I know I am not).  

Here’s who I am because of my Dad:

  • A believer
  • Intense/serious
  • Hard working
  • Loyal

In many cases you are adopted into your work relationships as well.  The more time you spend with each other, the more you become like each other. That’s why your Mama said, “Watch out who you hand out with.” (because you will become like them)

Here is the lesson leaders: the people in your organization will become (to some degree) like you.  

What style, methods, behaviors, personality traits, and values, are they adopting because of you?  


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