I Need To Know Where I Came From To Know Where I Am Going

2931 words - 12 pages

Growing up I learned the stories of my ancestors and how all of them were immigrants. I felt a need to learn their stories because I thought “I need to know where I came from to know where I am going”. I believe I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors and my accomplishments are not my own but resulted due to what they accomplished in their lives. I view my family history as building blocks with each generation improving, if only in millimeters. My ancestors came from Germany, Sweden and Bohemia. Three of my great-grandparents were immigrants. My parents both knew their grandparents and had a relationship I find it amazing to be so close to the immigrant generation yet so far away. I say far away because the language and customs are gone. We are completely “American” but in writing this paper I realized the values of the old countries remain alive and well within the current generation.
The maternal side of my family contains Swedish and Bohemian ethnicities. My maternal grandmother was 100% ethnic Swedish. My great-grandparents arrived in America in between 1874 and 1888. The section on parenting issues for parents of color in Diller (2011) while my grandparents were not people of color they were immigrants which made them different. I wonder what experience my grandmother had growing up in a home with parents who were born in another country, spoke a different language and had different customs. I knew Grandma was raised by immigrant parents but I never thought how that would affect their parenting style and if the children were teased because their parents were different and how their parents helped the children deal with it. I now wish I had spoken to my grandmother about this and how it was to grow up in a home where the Swedish culture was so strong with the language, customs and connections to the homeland via family and friends. McGoldrick, Giordano and Garcia-Preto (2005) state the Scandinavian cultural values center around two cultural beliefs, “Don’t think you are special” and “Keep to yourself”. I shared this with my mother she laughed and said “That describes me and grandma”. Also I see this in myself because I always think what I can do anyone can do but in reality not everyone has the capabilities that I possess. Not everyone can or wants to continue their education like I have. In exploring the Scandinavian values more in McGoldrick et al. (2005) I felt as if I was reading a book about me. Two factors appear to have an impact on Scandinavian values. First I was fascinated to learn the northern sections of Scandinavia experience extended winter darkness making sunlight highly valued. Isolation, due to the rugged geography, creates the second factor impacting Scandinavian values. The familiarity of long winter darkness and isolation tends to make Scandinavians expect hardiness in themselves. Isolation and silence may be the Scandinavian comfort zone they also value coming together to help one another....

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