I have lived in Harlingen throughout my childhood. Harlingen is located at the center of the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas. Life in Harlingen was awesome and enriching. Brushlands and riparian forests surround the town, making it home to a wide range of flora and fauna. At a tender age, I learned to hunt while loving and appreciating nature. As a result of these expeditions, I acquired the principles of conservation. For a long time, the cost of life in Harlingen has been the least expensive compared to all towns in the United States, thereby leading credence to the surging urban population. My childhood experience occurred under the strict guidance of my family members.
My life as a young person was influenced majorly by my immediate family. I have the best parents anyone would wish to have. My father, a strict disciplinarian and an astute leader in the family, instilled discipline and respect in me. On many occasions, he taught me to differentiate right from wrong. He taught me the virtues of hard work and respect for other people. Sometimes, I used to think that my father was being overly strict. However, looking back, the values he cultivated in me have stood out. I have embodied these values in all aspects of my life and they have enabled me to develop mutual understanding with the people I interact with. I have a loving and supportive mother who also taught me to be a good individual. Like my father, she taught me to be kind to everyone and show compassion to less fortunate people. My mother had worked with homeless and vulnerable groups by assisting them to cope with the harsh challenges of life. Both parents encouraged me to become the person I wanted to become in future. I also had supportive uncles and grandparents whose conservative ideals enabled me to be cautious about the choices that I was required to make. They did not restrict my aspirations, but encouraged me to aim higher and attain the greatest achievements in life. It is because of their support that my life’s philosophy has been anchored on hard work.
My neighborhood was full of families who worked hard to meet the challenges of life. Throughout my early school days, I could see parents waking up every morning to take their children to school. Most of them believed that through education, children would grow to become responsible and respected people in the community. They all wanted the best for their children. While at school, I held many discussions with my classmates about the kind of future we were envisioning. Most of us had big dreams and greater aspirations in life. My neighborhood also comprised people who were struggling to earn a living. Most of these people had less education and were consequently condemned to doing menial jobs. The distinction that education had created between the less-educated low class and the working educated middle class was so clear that it made me focus on class work as a panacea to poverty. It is then that I developed a simple maxim of giving my best shot at all times.
The Harlingen community was cosmopolitan in nature and comprised of people of diverse cultural backgrounds. There were Asians, African-Americans, Caucasians, and Latinos. These people lived in harmony with one another while exhibiting their unique cultural expressions. Cultural diversity was also accompanied by diverse foods and language. Growing in this community enabled me to develop a sense of cultural sensitivity and racial consciousness. These attributes made it easy for me to interact with people regardless of their race, gender, religion, and ethnicity. The cultural competent skills that I acquired were important in developing a holistic individual prepared to handle the cross-cultural issues that are likely to emerge in social settings.
Clearly, the environment I grew up shaped me positively. I have become a responsible, self-esteemed, respectful, and independent individual. I am prepared to employ these attributes in making wise decisions, and promoting a future of mutual respect and mutual love among diverse groups.
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