Child of a Legend

In something concerning David Beckham today:

"One of my boys turned around to me the other day, he said, 'Daddy, you know, I'm not sure I want to play football all the time...'

"It broke my heart a little bit. He said, 'Every time that I step onto the field, I know people are saying, you know, 'This is David Beckham's son,' and if I'm not as good as you, then it's not good enough.'

"I said, 'Okay, stop right there... You play because you want to play."

This reminds me of Alianne, daughter of Alanna the Lioness from the Tortall books by Tamora Pierce, or my own headcanon of Kenshin’s son and their story. Being the daughter/son of a legend or any reknowned public figure must be difficult in terms of the pressures these kids often feel to be just as good in the footsteps of their parents, or even expected to surpass their parents.

(Though Kenshin cannot be beaten in my eyes, but that’s because he always fights from a disadvantage anyway. People who are too strong get cocky, right?)

This results in some choosing to throw themselves into the same field and aiming surpass their parents (Kenji). Whereas some others instead choose wildly different careers (Alianne). Alanna is frustrated with Alianne’s lack of direction in her life as she doesn’t want to become a knight like her mother, and chooses instead to be a spy like her father. I suppose that’s not so ‘wildly different’ then, since she’s obviously gained knowledge from her parents, but the point stands.

It’s interesting that people in fiction seem to end up in the same or similar career fields as their parents though. Victoria Beckham mourns not being able to share her passion of fashion:

"[Harper] said to me the other day: 'Mummy I think I want to play football...' [It was] a dagger through the heart. I have three boys who want to play football, come on, let one of them want to be in fashion."

How many people follow their parents into careers these days though? Some children who have doctors for fathers grow up to be a doctor and so on, but these days people can learn whatever they want and don’t necessarily have to go into the same career. God knows I didn’t get into my field because of my parents (what field is that anyway?). Apart from my mother pushing accounting when I was younger (which I was not interested in), I haven’t had much guidance at all other than going into X field will make me penniless.

But despite this sense of pressure to perform I still feel a measure of jealousy for these celebrity families, for getting a step up into a certain kind of world whether they need it or not - a chance that some of us would kill for but possibly never quite achieve. For example, would someone else have been as skillful as Alianne if they hadn’t had the training she had growing up?

Having famous parents, in a way, open up their career prospects more because of the connections their family has whether or not they’re expected to go into one specific field.

It’s interesting from the other side though, as in this interview with Matt Damon:

He was less enamoured of his sudden celebrity. “You wake up one morning and the world is entirely the same and you know, actually, all the things that mattered yesterday are the same today, except the world is forever going to be a totally different place for you,” he says.

“That’s the mind-fuck and it takes a few years to even get your head around what’s happening… I remember my brother said: ‘How are you doing?’ And I was, like, ‘I’m the fucking same, but everyone else is different.’”

They feel the same on the inside as they ever were, but they can never really be that way again.