My Parents' Gifts + My Wishes for My Child


Last weekend, my class was presented with our results of an IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) assessment. The IDI measures your acceptance and/or interest in embracing and learning about others' cultures, as well as evaluating how culturally competent you truly are in comparison to how you think you are.

The IDI workshop engages individuals to set up cultural awareness plans for themselves in order to achieve higher scores on their next inventory, and, you know... learn how to better appreciate other cultures! Part of studying culture is recognizing that each individual doesn't have just one culture: culture is your socioeconomic status, gender, race, religion, etc.

Part of your cultural identity also stems from your upbringing and the way that you were nurtured by your caregivers (or parents). In a tree diagram, my classmates and I constructed the "roots" which we think impact the way we view the world today. This inspired me to write about (just a few of) the things my folks taught me throughout my life, closing with three things I hope to impact my child with.

Mom & Dad's Life Lessons:

1. Crafting is fun! Among many other things I received from spending time with my mom, I certainly picked up her love of crafting. When I was younger, we spent tons of time on her sewing machine, visiting the local bead store, and scrapbooking our hands off! Being involved in a creative outlet as a child influenced the ways I later expressed myself and valued art.

2. There is no need to societally conform. One of the things I value so much about my mom's character is the fact that she is the furthest thing from superficial, and never buys into societal pressures regarding the "rules of being a feminine woman". She has never worn makeup any day that I've been alive, and presents her physical appearance as quite unisex. The value of having a mom like this is huge. I was given a belief of conviction that your success is not dependent on how attractive you are (in most cases), and it is absolutely okay to not conform to society.

3. Knit-pickers can be and are successful. While others may deny this next skill as being vital or as positively contributing to success, my mom and I both share a hyper-awareness, and therefore a love of details. We are anxious beings and therefore work our hardest on assigned projects, pay attention to important details, and ask the right questions to get the job done. This trait is very helpful when attempting to gain the most out of education or employment.

4. Humor is crucial. My dad is a funny guy... I mean a really funny guy. His ability to laugh in difficult situations and make a lighthearted comment that puts you in a better mood is very special to me and has a great impact on him and I's relationship. I believe I gained his sense of humor, and find myself the one among my friends that is always the first to crack the jokes.

5. Politics matter. In line with his humor, my dad's political ideology has been instilled in me since day one. His awareness of political issues have impacted the way I consider the importance of my values as they relate to politics, particularly my liberal politics (and his). He always told me to find my own voice and that he would support me and my eventual beliefs, but I was just too darn inspired that I ended up following his lead anyway!

6. Human nature is a fascinating and necessary area of study. Graduating with a Master's in Social Psychology, developing his emphasis in sociology as he went through life, eventually solidifying a professor position, my dad has devoted his higher education and career to the humanities. Without fully making the connection that my favorite subjects just so happened to be his, I began to pursue the humanities as soon as I reached my senior year of high school, and haven't stopped since.

My Wishes:

1. Honesty is the best and only policy. This is, above all, my most valued trait in any human being, and I most certainly hope that my children will follow suit. No matter what mistake you've made, honesty is how you can overcome it and learn from it with integrity. With honesty, you can also ask questions and prevent making mistakes in the first place. In addition, honesty is necessary when accepting others into your life, because lying about yourself or lying to them will get you nowhere.

2. We have a duty of social justice and equality. If there's any political ideology I can instill in my children, it's this: we all must rise up and fight the good fight. Whether it's racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, fat-shaming, etc., there is a need for social justice and much less hatred in this world. I wish for my child to grow up in an environment that fosters these ideals, and teaches them how to make effective change in their world (God knows they'll probably have robots that can do it for them by then).

3. Giving a damn will get you farther than settling. Throughout my life, I've observed others around me settle. Whether they are settling for a lifestyle of recreation and poor grades, or a less-than-satisfying educational or career experience. I hope that I can show my child that going the extra mile to clarify an assignment, shoot for your dreams, and take responsibility for the overall quality of your experiences can catapult you further (earlier on) in life (and alleviate so much stress in the long-run)!

This is a little peek into my culture and the values that go along with it. What's yours!?