Two birds of a feather
When different backgrounds result in similar personalities: the story of Micheline and Jonathan
Jonathan and Micheline have been dating for about 2 years. At the sound of his name, her face lights up. Their relationship is a dynamic collaboration -- they rely on each other for support and companionship. They spend most of their days together: if not studying together then exercising; if not exercising together then eating; if not eating together then sleeping. The synergetic interaction between the two creates a beautiful relationship that allows one to be a pillar of support when the other is weak.
Though Micheline and Jonathan mesh together seamlessly, they come from two different worlds. In stark contrast to the hardship that defined Micheline’s childhood in the U.S., Jonathan has never known much beyond the occasional financial inconvenience. Born into a middle-class family of comfortable social standing, he cannot immediately identify with the struggle that Micheline experienced. He has been fortunate enough to never see days where he comes home to eviction notices on the door and wonders how the bills will get paid.
However, Jonathan and Micheline are united by a common trait: the innate desire to succeed. Micheline, of course, gets her motivation to succeed from the obligation that she feels to herself to avoid the quality of life that she was raised into. Where, then, does Jonathan - who has not had the same experience of financial strain that she has - get his drive from? “It’s a parenting thing,” says Micheline. “He’s born into money but he has the same drive and, I would say, the same resilience and the same persistence that I do. But I also have other friends that were born into money just like he was (very rich) - can’t handle a single thing.” Though Micheline’s drive is directly related to her family’s socioeconomic condition, it is not dependent on it. Jonathan exemplifies this. He shows that the reaches of motivation and ambition have the capacity to extend into backgrounds of all kinds. If they are not placed there naturally by the harsh conditions of the world, they simply must be instilled by attentive parenting.
It is for this reason that Micheline does not worry about the character of her future children. While she expects that they will never have to endure the difficult times that she was subjected to, she still expects that they will be motivated as she is motivated. “I want my kids to understand that they may have been born into it but I wasn’t born into it,” she says. “They would feel entitled if they just have things handed to them. And I don’t plan on doing that because I didn’t have anything handed to me. And I want them to also have the same motivation and same drive. And a lot of that comes from experience and having to get things that you need and things that you want for yourself by yourself.”
Micheline’s personality is defined by the survival of a situation that might have killed the spirits of most. She thrives because of it. Having experienced all that she has experienced, she can now withstand more than most people can. Through good parenting, she expects to pass this same boldness on to her children. “As long as they have that mentality and they’re not given everything that they ever wanted....I feel like they can establish that resilience and hunger and drive.”