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1. I grew up with a strong and helpful family that was always there for me. I did get into a lot of fights with my siblings, but now that I am an adult and living my own life, I realize how much I really care and love them. Thinking back on my childhood, I was raised a good life and my parents told me to be the best person I could possibly be. They showed me how to pursue a good work ethic, and how to treat others the way I want to be treated. As a child I was taught to respect my parents, teachers, and adults. To respect someone is not to agree with someone but show regard to. I was always told treat people like you would want to be treated. And showing respect is one of them. I believe respect is something that is not given its earned through the course of time. My family was what made me who I am today.
2. While reflecting on the different cultural elements that have influenced my life, it is hard to determine which would be classified as the most significant or the most influential because at different stages of my life, that priority has changed. For simplicities sake, the first influence I will discuss will be that of my parents. I was born to a Caucasian, middle class husband and wife in July of 1974. Due to being “middle class” I was taught the values of hard work, responsibility, honesty, and accountability. With two parents who felt one does not deserve what one hasn’t worked for, it was instilled in me that laziness was truly one of the worst characteristics one could possible hold. This programming has led me to be hyper-vigilant in my quest to prove my lack of “laziness.” This can be established by the fact that I am currently raising 3 children, work one full-time job, and attend college full-time. In addition to my parents influence, the fact that I had 1 sibling also played a significant role in my cultural programming. Having a sibling has taught me to negotiate, participate and compromise.
3. I was raised in a very safe and secure environment for most of my life. I am Caucasian, straight and a female. I was raised in the Methodist church which puts me in another dominant classification, Christian. My dad worked very long hours when I was growing up to provide for the family. While my upbringing is relatively idyllic, there are experiences and influences that have shaped my life and made me a more tolerant, understanding and yet critical person than the stereotype of people from my socio-cultural upbringing. I was taught to see others as individuals as opposed to stereotypes. I was also taught to value an individual’s right to pursue happiness.
4. A family event that we participate in is sled riding and skiing. These events have impacted our family in a positive way. It is something that everybody enjoys participating in.
5. Our holiday traditions were really helpful during my life. On New Years Eve we all would gather together to say good bye to the old year and welcome in the new upcoming year. My children and I still observe this tradition. We eat dinner together every night. Each Sunday morning we have a big family breakfast. Our family has a family night every Monday night. Where we get together, play games, and eat treats. We also eat pizza and watch a movie together every Friday night. Every year we have a family reunion. Each Halloween we go to the pumpkin patch and pick out pumpkins.
6. Every Christmas Eve we watch a Christmas movie then each child gets to open one present. On Easter we would search for hidden Easter baskets and collect the eggs that are hiding around the room. In our family our kids plan a birthday party with friends every year. We always decorate with streamers and balloons. The birthday child gets to choose his or her own birthday cake. They also get to choose whatever they want for their birthday dinner.
7. In my family we were taught that the role of the child in the family is to: go to school, learn, and grow up to be successful, listen to their parents, and go to church.
8. My mother had the most significant influence on me. She is the strongest woman that I have ever met. Her life inspired me with confidence and great motivation. Most of my mother’s life is full of misfortunes and unexpected troubles. Although she went through many hardships, she never gave up. The thing that I admire my mother most is she always kept in her mind the positive thoughts. In spite of the hard work that she does day by day, she always has a smile on her face.
9. By attending a college with a diverse student body I believe this can prepare me for my future work with families. I will be able to meet people and gain new insights on language and experience from another culture.
10. I believe growing up as a Caucasian, straight female will place a barrier in working with diverse families. I feel there will be limits to my experience but I would like to overcome them by taking classes on diversity and culture.