English translation: How the father is, the child is exactly the same.
English equivalent: Like father, like son.
We picked this proverb because June is the month of Father’s Day. The meaning of this proverb is straight forward. More often than not, certain characteristics of the father are passed on to the son or daughter. Daughters and sons tend to do as their fathers before them did. It is important to note the Vietnamese proverb refers to behavioral traits and actions, not physical characteristics. The similarities they share can be as inconspicuous as twiddling their thumbs when they think or tapping their feet when they grow impatient. The father and child are bound by those delicate, distinctive similarities.
Unlike the English proverb, the Vietnamese version is not limited to a father-son relationship. The Vietnamese translation uses a gender neutral word for “child.” In Western and Eastern cultures, terms like “daddy’s girl” and “mommy’s boy” were coined to describe the close relationships of fathers and daughters and mothers and sons. Dads tend to dote on their daughters more and moms tend to spoil their sons. If fathers and daughters have this special tie, the resemblance between a father and a child can occur between fathers and daughters. The Vietnamese translation leaves room for this possibility.
May you and your family have a splendid Father’s Day!
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt