Dr. Belinda Bruner
April 10, 2014
Dear Mom and Dad,
There are billions of families in this world, each and every one different in their own way. And while I haven’t even come close to meeting a fraction of those families, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade our family for any of the others. You two have given me the type of childhood that was filled with love and knowledge and culture. I’m sure you two realized far earlier than I did how successful Matteo and I would grow up to be. While we are both still teenagers, I have no doubt that we will be “successful” in our individual ways, whatever that may be. Not many parents can say for certain that their children will grow up to impact the world, but you have told us that we will, time and again. And now, having spent time researching families and the foundations upon which they are built, I have come to realize that the only reason Matteo and I will lead healthy, happy lives in the future is because of the environment you raised us in and the values you have instilled in us. Far and above the most important aspect of our childhood has been the multicultural undertone that has accompanied everything you ever taught us. We were taught to embrace our Italian and Cherokee heritage and never shy away from it. Instead of it becoming just another fact on a piece of paper, our multicultural heritage became a part of us; it became the basis of our being. The more time that passes, I realize more and more how significant a role our multicultural heritage played in our upbringing. As I look back on my past and as I look forward to my future, I can picture neither without acknowledging the constant presence of my Italian-American heritage. I can say with unfaltering confidence that I would be a lesser person than the one I am today without the Italian influence that was ever-present for the last 18 years. This paper is meant to argue that I am a better person because of my multicultural background and it is meant to thank you for giving me that opportunity. This paper is a tribute to my heritage; but, more importantly, it is a tribute to you. Thank you, for everything.
As I began my research for this topic, I came across an article that spoke about the importance of making children feel like they “matter” in their family and the effect it can have on their adolescence. It insisted that feeling loved and supported in your family as an adolescent can lead to increased self esteem and curtail future destructive behavior. I can vouch for that first-hand. Not only did you two make me feel like I mattered every second of every day, but you made me feel like my culture mattered. I feel that our culture only enhanced the love that was never lacking in our family and created a more well rounded family because we understood how special a gift our multiculturalism is.
For as far back as I can remember, Italy and its culture has been just as prevalent in my life as the United...