Often times when we hear the word culture, we think of the differences of different countries. That statement may be true; however, there are different cultures within the same country, even within the same city. No matter what culture we call our own, there are distinct differences between that of other cultures around us. One of the major differences occurs in the realm of family; family affection to be more specific. When talking about family affection, we should consider many different aspects. It was my task and privilege to explore these aspects.
I consider myself having a strong American culture. My family has been here for many years and has adopted the “American Way”. After being born and raised in Wisconsin, I now spend my summers in Hawaii with my relatives. Despite my being away from my family for the summers, my family and I are very close to all of our relatives, and family affection is a daily occurrence. I recently interviewed Teresa Tran, a student at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Teresa was born and raised in Minnesota “after [her] parents emigrated from Vietnam. When [her] parents came to the United States, they brought with them their Vietnamese culture. [She] grew up in a culture mixed with mainly Vietnamese and some American from [her] surroundings.” Even though we have different cultures, we have both differences and similarities in our family affection.
The first aspect that I explored was by which medians affection is portrayed in the family. When looking at my own culture, my family and I show affection verbally, through gestures and through voice tones. For example, every night before I go to bed, I give both of my parents hugs, and occasionally kisses, and I always tell them that I love them. As far as tonal affection goes, by not raising our voices at one another we are showing affection in a small way. We still fight, but instead of yelling, we choose words carefully and try to show our point of view without putting down the other person. One last way that we show affection is simply by remembering important dates, like mothers’ day, fathers’ day, birthdays, and anniversaries. Teresa’s Culture differs very much from my own when comparing family affection. The differences come in all of the medians in which to show affection. “Affection towards my family members is rare,” says Teresa, which is the biggest difference between our cultures. My culture is largely based on showing your affection for your family members. Teresa, however, does show a little affection towards her family “by teasing or making fun of them…the stupid things. By laughing together, that’s how my family shows our affection toward each other.” My family does tease each other too, however, we more of consider that having fun than showing affection. The simple act of showing affection is very different throughout different cultures.
Another aspect of our different cultures is our reactions to the...