Various things make up who I stem from; my cultural upbringing, socioeconomic status, and even perhaps adapting to my cultural past through stories and mementos/current environment. My family originated in Haiti. My birth mother raised me, and I am the youngest girl out of eight siblings (2nd to the last child). I was brought up in a traditional type of family structure that consisted of my father, mother, four brothers, and three sisters. Some of the stories connecting my family to the previous generations are the spirituality and Christian stories that are central to our family culture. My grandparents from both my mother's and my father's side were great believers of the Christian faith, and this tradition has been passed from generation to generation. In my family, we have also had various keepsakes like photos, handcrafted antiques that have never been used, dance, music, and stories that have been passed on from generation to generation.
How Family Express Problems and Limitations
Every family has its own set of family issues, some of which are major, and others are minor. Sometimes back before my family became dysfunctional, all of us lived together in the same household just like any other traditional family does. Our family faced the usual occasional conflicts and problems. It is such problems that led my mother and father to divorce. At the very start, my family used to express some of the family problems through anger. When I was not on good terms with my siblings, I used to get angry at them, but my parents would always help us solve our differences. However, my parent's unhealthy dynamics were so overwhelming that it resulted in a divorce. My parent's divorce brought about various issues to the family-like a lack of proper communication with each other. The primary issue which resulted in my family to face problems likes lack of communication was because my parents had unhealthy dynamics. Our family became separated and could only reunite during the holidays as if we were not facing any family problems. However, since then, my family has always remained in touch with each other and still act like a nuclear family since the family reunification during the holidays has become just like a family ritual. Despite the distance and the rebelliousness, arguments the holidays have always been a significant issue gluing our family together.
Roles Assigned to Individuals by the Family
In my family household, each member has roles and responsibilities that show how we interact with each other in the household. At a time in the past, my father used to be the head of the family; he was the authority in position in our family lineage. He always looked for ways and means of providing for the family needs, protected us from any harm, was the one who used to give judgment, especially during conflicts and sibling rivalry, and also the family's mentor and leader. He was a former electrician who used to work full time, six days a week, and he always managed to cater for all the household needs. My father was always busy working and rarely had enough time to rest since sometimes he worked overtime, and this affected him mentally, emotionally, and physically.
As for my siblings and me, the significant roles we played in the household included workers where we used to help in minor house chores, caregivers of one another, and we were also students. Since I was the youngest girl in the family, some of my roles included, be a sister, a daughter, a student, and also a domesticated worker. Although I may not be the eldest child in the family, my family terms me as the "hero" of the family. I played a very significant role when my family was going through all those problems. I made sure that everything was kept intact; I played the role of rescuing, resolving, and compromising to maintain peace if at all, and I liked that role as long as it kept my family in harmony. My mother, on the other hand, tried as much as she could to take of the family after my father left since she always felt guilty.
Losses in the Family
The major loss which occurred in our nuclear family was the loss of a father after our parents' divorce since we were left to live with our mother. All of us, the siblings, responded, but my brothers were more hostile for having to cope with living with only their mother. My family has always considered communication as an important thing for strong and healthy relationships; however, this loss affected smooth communication in the family. We tried overcoming this through meeting during the holidays to keep the glue in the family still strong.
Families' Identity with Religious Heritage
In my family, we are all Christians since Christianity has been the family's religion. Back in those days, my family used to attend church and also bible studies weekly. Every member of the family had the bible readings firmly embedded in their memories since we were all firm believers of the Christian movement. Our pastor would always insist on blasphemy, especially on individuals who sought the same sex or identified themselves with another sex. It is undeniable that every person has their own bias on specific things like culture, race, or even other individuals. These biases are most of the time as a result of cultural encapsulation in which an individual lacks proper understanding or is ignorant of the cultural background of other individuals as well as the influence which can be brought about by an individual's current view of the world. It is the manifestation of this cultural encapsulation that drives prejudice, which is a pre convinced opinion rarely based on experience or reason. In our family, we rarely had such issues. A competent social worker needs to set aside all their biases to be able to help the client in the best way possible. Although getting rid of cultural encapsulation may not be that easy, dissociating it while in practice is not impossible either.
Family Social Economic Positions over Generations
My family encountered some problems like social, and economic issues, financial issues, and general poverty. These are essential things that made my mother have some limited educational resources. Having faced such problems in her childhood, she decided it was best if she worked as hard as she could to ensure that her children did not have problems when it came to getting their education and that our family had excellent stability. My parent's efforts are the major factors that enabled our family's socio-economic status to change over time in that we are encountering the same financial issues my mother encountered as she was growing up.
Family Gender and Sexual Identity
From a cultural perspective, it is imperative for one to always identify with their sexual orientation; this was something that was rarely spoken of. As mentioned earlier, apart from my mother and father, my family was also made up of four brothers and three sisters. We all assumed that each of us was typically following the biblical definitions and structure of a man and a woman.
Role of Education in the Family
In our family, education has moved to the very top of all the accomplishments in the family. Education has become the gateway in which we understand the sociology of life, accessing resources, and perspectives on global scales. It is vital for a family to be educated and also conscious to raise creative, intelligent, and successful children. This is because education enables children to master significant changes and also prepare them for a better future.
Important of Achievements in the Family (Education)
My family considers education a very crucial achievement in one's life. This is why my father and mother always worked hard to make sure that all of us gained proper education. My family believes that it is crucial for individuals to have a proper understanding of the importance of families and children in general as well as how we as individuals should value and preserve both our children and family in general. Without a safe, healthy, and well-structured family system, an individual is likely to have some physical, mental, psychological, emotional, and social issues.
Important Family Rituals
One of the significant family rituals my family has always tried to maintain is that of celebrating the holidays together. Even after my parents got divorced, we made sure that this ritual kept on going on since it glued our family together. Additionally, as a Christian family, we have always relied on our multidimensional spirituality since it acts as our source of cultural expression and strength. This culture has been passed from one generation to another, and as a family, we try as much as we can to maintain this tradition.
In conclusion, some of the things about my family which were life-changing for me include; exposure to my family cultural norms, recognizing and respecting each person's role in the family, making vital decisions that are in the best interest of the family. Additionally, the great efforts put on by our parents to ensure that they carried on their parental duties, protecting their children and the entire family and also just leaving the responsibility to one individual changed me. My family origin has greatly influenced me to become a great social worker and also an advocator. Such experiences drive me to help all the families in need and offer effective treatment to any family going through such or any other issues. As a future social worker, I have a strong belief and passion that I will be able to help families and the community in general to find solutions and social justice in humanity.
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