When literally translated to English, it becomes “What the tree is, so is its fruit.” In addition, the closest quote in English that we can compare its idea with is “The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.” “Kung ano ang puno, siya rin ang bunga” is a common tagalog quote where it conveniently generalizes one cause and its effect. The line states that if a person is bad, evil, impure, or immoral in character when he produces an offspring, they too, will become bad, evil, impure, or immoral in character as they grow. The same suggest for a person who is good, pure, and moral in character.
However, this line can become problematic when taken literally and not with a grain of salt. You see, the parent and child are two different humans. They think differently, learn differently, act differently, and even live in different generations that may have values that differ and beliefs that treat the other as obsolete.
Upon listening to James Allen’s audiobook “As a Man Thinketh” which I highly recommend, he regards the man as a powerful being and the only source of that power that cannot be taken away from him is his thought. After the chapter on the effect of thought on the circumstance, I quickly realized that the Tagalog quote mentioned earlier contradicts itself when taken literally.
The problem it presents is that it becomes too restrictive for the child where he loses control over himself and ultimately, his destiny – possibly because of his lineage, his surname, his family’s inclination to a particular discipline, his family’s clout, or religious beliefs. Adhering to the guidance of the book, I think that the parent and the child cannot be compared, because they both think differently and therefore, create their destiny. I suggest that we apply the line separately on the parent and the child as humans. So, the parent’s actions will bear fruit, no matter how good or evil it is. Also, the child’s actions will bear fruit, no matter how good or evil it is. In fairness to the parents, the child is not fate’s way of retribution for your sins or reward for your good deeds in the past – not until they are sustaining themselves.
I think that inevitably, there are contradictions to this suggestion when it comes to other Social Sciences that discusses the topic of Nature and Nurture, for example. However, the aim of this is to empower people who are thinking that they are – and should be – photocopies of their parents. While it is true that parents play a huge role in the formation of the child’s belief and value system, time will come that that influence shall wither when the child starts to think and rationalize. In which case, the responsibility and accountability on the consequences as a result of his actions must be placed on his shoulder.
Emulating parents are not bad, especially if they are citizens who have a good contribution to society like Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Entrepreneurs, and the like. However, there are circumstances that children are judged unfairly because of a simple mistake of their parents in the past. Take for example the children of drug addicts. There are people whose stories debunked this Tagalog quote. Because their parent is high on drugs and is under the law for such acts, these children receive criticism that they do not deserve from people who do not know their story. In effect, they become educators, law-abiding citizens, and a good example for society on the avoidance of illegal drugs and the awareness of their effects in the destruction of the family.
There are many other instances where the Tagalog quote is debunked. So, I hope that this simple discussion will give hope to children who are under the shadow of their parents. You have a different story, and you will make your destiny. Whatever it brings forth from your actions, is solely up to you.