Created By: SpocktorWho on October 12, 2012

You Shall Not Become Me

A mentor or parent sees their ward following in their footsteps and does not want it to happen.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
This (potential) trope occurs when the parent or mentor of another character realizes that their young charge is following in their footsteps (or may do so) and doesn't want it to happen. This can be because the mentor/parent thinks their life sucks, even if it is an admirable way of life, or because the mentor/parent is mostly evil and doesn't want to drag the kid down with them.

This leads to either a scene wherein the mentor/parent rages against the padawan, telling them that they don't want to become like them, or just evokes a general attitude on the part of the mentor that the ward choose a different path in life.

The best current examples I can think of:

The 2011 version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, where Prideaux kicks out the kid with glasses (with whom he'd been bonding and teaching) at the end of the film, the implication being that he doesn't want the kid to become a spy like him because his life now sucks.

The Godfather - Vito Corleone does not want Michael to get involved with the family business, and instead live a life free of the mafia.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • October 13, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    A few television PS As (mainly anti-drug or anti-smoking) invoke this trope. One example depicts a woman smoking a cigarette out on the front step, with her teenaged son sitting down beside her and asking for a light--with the camera returning to the mother's face, clearly disturbed by this as she looks at her own cigarette, supposedly reflecting on the bad example she's set.
  • October 13, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    I'm not sure if I recall this correctly, but I think one of the Rocky movies has Rocky Balboa encouraging his son to study hard in school so he doesn't end up being a boxer and getting all beat up like he does.
  • October 13, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Film

    The Road To Perdition has Michael Sullivan, an enforcer for a local gangster, trying hard to protect his son from the truth of what he does, and from falling into the same kind of life.

    Averted in Leon (The Professional), with hitman ("cleaner") Leon actually training the orphaned 12-year-old Mathilda in his craft, which she is eager to learn in the hope of avenging the deaths of her family at the hands of a corrupt DEA agent. Later invoked after Leon's death by his old boss Tony, who says he "ain't got no job for a 12-year-old kid" when she begs to be employed by him as a "cleaner", and tells her she needs to go back to school.
  • October 13, 2012
    Astaroth
    Compare Break His Heart To Save Him

    In the neutral ending of Bioshock 2, Subject Delta realises he's been a bad influence on Eleanor Lamb, and when she tries to extract the ADAM from his dying body so his personality can continue to live on inside her body, he refuses.
  • October 13, 2012
    Lorialet
    It happens in the serie Once Upon A Time. The Queen doesn't want her son to become as dependant to magic and power as she became under the influence of her mother and Rumplestiltskin.
  • October 13, 2012
    TrollBrutal
    Related to Evil Parents Want Good Kids (probably "made redundant" in The Godfather and Road To Perdition... examples) and Turn Out Like His Father
  • October 13, 2012
    KTera
    Red Dead Redemption: John wants Jack to live a respectable life instead of becoming an outlaw like his father. It happens anyway; after his parents' death, Jack avenges them by hunting down the man responsible.
  • October 13, 2012
    lilliterra
    Maybe this is a supertrope to Evil Parents Want Good Kids?
  • October 13, 2012
    Clevomon
    I've already got a version of this in YKTTW called Little Brother Is Watching.
  • October 14, 2012
    SpocktorWho
    Clevomon, it looks like yours already has a lot more traffic than mine. I like my title, but the two tropes are pretty similar. I notice yours doesn't mention mentors who are good and simply think their life sucks, though. The last paragraph is close, but not quite there. And I support the mention of a "speech moment" that tends to happens sometimes with this, when the mentor yells or at least talks to the kid about never becoming the same person as them. If yours comes off, I would suggest adding that stuff. And of course, now we have a couple more examples on this page. If the Big Brother is Watching complaints to the title become too much of an issue, the title could become my title, but it looks like you were here first so I'm not trying to take over your game or anything.
  • October 14, 2012
    Clevomon
    That's a good idea. I think the votes seemed to lead toward leaving the title as is for the time being, but I agree that should some other people begin to indicate a problem, this title can be a top contender. I would be more than happy to integrate the data from this into Little Brother Is Watching in a bit (it may take a bit of time, since I have some stuff to do IRL), or if you'd like to speed it up, you can draft up some changes yourself and run them by me before integrating them directly into the proposal. Does that sound okay?
  • October 15, 2012
    SpocktorWho
    I'm not in a big hurry, take your time. I'd be happy to PM you the full version of what I wrote for my description on the trope's page (unless you think others would want to see it). We could put the two descriptions side by side and pick out the bits that we feel exemplify the trope best. Then if changes are decided upon, we could present on your thread. Or I can take your description page and draft those changes to show to you if you'd prefer. What works for you?
  • October 16, 2012
    KarjamP
    No New Stock Phrases or dialog-based titles for names.

    Think of something else.
  • October 16, 2012
    JDogindy
    I do recall an episode of The Brady Bunch revolving around this.
  • October 16, 2012
    TheHandle
  • October 16, 2012
    KarjamP
    ^ Too long.
  • October 17, 2012
    TheHandle
  • October 18, 2012
    Chernoskill
    In American History X, Edward Norton's character doesn't want his little brother to become a white supremacist like he was before he reformed in prison.
  • October 18, 2012
    DaibhidC
    • Depending On The Writer, it's sometimes mentioned in Batman that part of the reason he takes on Robins is because he worries that if he doesn't, they'll become vigilantes anyway, and also be embittered loners who have nothing but their vengence. Specifically, he once said that, while he was proud when Dick became Batman, the last thing he wants is for Dick to become Bruce Wayne.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=cchtxf7q0kc3u8f1ifmk348d