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Culture Reflection Paper
My parents are from Pakistan and I am first generation American. Throughout my life I've battled with embracing my cultural heritage and being ashamed of it. As I child, all I wanted was to be "American". Our customs and traditions were a little different too. As I grew out of my embarrassment, I truly began to embrace my culture. What I learned from growing up in a culturally different household was that my family traditions were different from those of my American friends. Sleeping and eating were some of those traditions or customs that was not the basic norm of the American culture.
Growing up I shared a bed with my sister, who is 2 years older than me. I was always used to having someone sleep next to me. My mother had told me, when I was about one she had left me with my grandparents back in Pakistan and I always slept with my grandparents and when I came back to America a year later, I would not like sleeping alone, which is why I would sleep with my sister. In my culture it is common to share a bed with your siblings or parents. As I got older I eventually got my own bed and I remember every night before going to sleep my mom would make sure we said a prayer in Arabic. The prayer was, "Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem". Still till this day I read this prayer every night and I never forget to read it no matter how tired I am because it is something I did every night before bed with my siblings for as long as I can remember.
Growing up my family always ate together. We would wait for everyone to sit down and we would eat. Sometimes my mom would lay a sheet on the floor in the living room and we would eat there. Also in my culture it is common to eat with our hands. I could remember by age 4 I was eating on my own, but my mom said when I lived with my grandparents they would always feed me by hand. We didn't eat separate food from my parents we all ate the same food that was cooked. Pakistani food is typically spicy, which would explain why I love spicy food. During lunchtime in school my mom would pack me food and I would have my friends try it and they would not like it because of all the spices. If they saw me eating with my hands they would laugh at me and then I started using spoons and forks. Also before eating we would have to say the same prayer, "Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem". Both my parents are Muslim so I was not allowed to eat pork and was only allowed to eat Halal food. That was the worst because anytime here was a party in the classroom or if I went over to a friends house I couldn't eat the food. I don't eat Halal only anymore, but I still do not eat pork.
My cultural norms around eating and sleeping may influence the expectations I have for the children in my care because I grew up in a culturally different household and I understand that people have different customs and traditions that are normal to them. So as a person and a future educator I have to be understanding and make sure I don't label a child as different because everyone has their own definition of "normal". Some of the steps I can take is just being aware, asking questions if I don't understand something, being open minded and try to get out of my comfort zone because great things never came from comfort zones.
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