According to Merriam Webster dictionary culture can be defined as “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also: the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life} shared by people in a place or time”. The cultural values of a society are deeply rotted in the individuals of that society and play a very important role in formation of individual’s personality.
Part A: Personal Life
Although in today’s world learned men is constantly in a state of improving his personality for good but it cannot be denied that certain aspects of his personality are fixed. These aspects of his personality are the aspects that are deeply related to his culture and he does not feel the need to change them as they are a connecting link in-between him and his culture. Some of the factors that had a cultural and ethical influence on my personality are:
Family Structure and Relationship:
I belong to a closely knitted and supportive family that follows the motto that no matter what happen family stays together. Although we as a family are very close to each other but we in this closeness do not forget to accept and respect the individuality of every member of our family.
My family structure is fairly normal, in my immediate family I had both of my parents and two elder siblings: one sister and one brother. As I was the youngest child in my family I was really pampered and loved by everyone but this love and care did not spoil me as my parents always kept a strict control over their children which always helped us in having our feet’s firmly on the ground.
We by our elders were taught manners, respect for others, tolerance, courtesy and graciousness. By elders I do not mean just my parents but also mean by grandparents. The celebration of special occasions, sleepovers and regular visit at their place had been an integral part of my life. From them I learned to give love and affection to young ones, grant forgiveness to the one who seek our forgiveness and respect and maintain relationships.
Being a closely knitted family I have very good relations with my extended family. Though I am not friends with each and every member but have a very civil and cordial relation with each member at the minimum.
Now, as I have a seven year ole son. I can easily realize that the brought up of children is a very tough task for parents especially if the parents’ wish to provide their children with good upbringing. I would like my child to learn all the good qualities I was taught by my parents but I would like to specially emphasize on his learning respect and tolerance for people belonging to different culture and not become a victim of stereotyping. This I believe is important in the constantly changing world because now world have become a global village, one cannot survive without coordinating with individuals who have a different cultural and ethnical background than us. So, I wish for him to learn to accept the differences which he would have with others, in a good way.
Ancestry and Nationality:
My family is a fairly normal family and we do not have much information about our ancestor neither in the form of family tree nor in any other way but this is very evident from my family history that my forefathers primarily belonged to Germany. Although the origin of the family can be located to Germany but we have been told numerous times that our family is a mixture of many different nationalities. Among these different nationalities the prominent one is Finnish along with German.
My family had been living in America since the last 4 generations at the minimum. As me and my immediate family had all been born in America and brought up as an individual of American society I consider myself a through and through American. We in our family communicate in English and it is our primary language. I do not have any relative that speaks another language exclusively but my grandmother can speak some Finnish and I can understand certain basic phrases of it. I have some friends who speak different language exclusively and I can understand the basic greetings in those languages.
As I mentioned above that I do not know much about my ancestors and because of this I think they are not much important to me. As I believe in the importance of today to make our future better I do not dwell on the past and that is why I think that no matter what my ancestors had been they do not have much of an effect on my personality so I do not consider them of much importance for me.
I live in Livonia, Michigan along with my parents and son. I been a resident of this city since I was born and had never lived out of it anywhere else. The house I live in with my parents belongs to them and is my childhood home. The house is not really a big house but is big and spacious enough to accommodate all of my family which earlier comprised of me, my parents and my siblings and now include me, my son and my parents. As I had been living in this house since forever it holds a very special place in my heart and I am very emotionally attached to it. The interior of my house is very warm and cozy which gives a feeling of peace and safety to me.
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Physical environment of Livonia certainly had an influence over me which can be very much evident if compared with an individual belonging from small town. Livonia being a large suburb city has given me a chance to interact with more culturally diverse people, become confident and self reliant. In short Livonia had all the influence over my personality which big cities usually have over their residents.
Due to belonging to an extended family I am a very social, friendly and an extrovert person. I have a good quantity of great friends belonging to different cultural background with who I remain in regular contact with and hangout a lot. As no one is completely perfect, neither me nor my friends or family so I cannot just mention a single person who have shaped me to the person I am today. I have tried to learn numerous things for different individual like from my father I learnt to let go, have a big heart and have a forgive and forget attitude while from my mother I learnt that not always the forgive and forget routine works some time in life an individual have to take a stand and remember the wrong done to him. In this way I have learnt to usually forgive people and carry on with my life but take a stand when the situation is about my self-respect or about the respect of my loved ones. While one friend of mine taught me the importance of patience the other one taught be have a non-judgmental attitude towards people that is why I cannot name one person who has shaped my personality.
Along with my family and friends my most important social relationship is that with my church family. I have been going to the same church since I was 2 years old and so have known my church family from a very long time. This 25 year old relation with them has helped me to have a very strong and close bond with them. This bond can be exhibited with the fact that I address an old lady of my church family as “grandma” although she is of no relation to me. From my church family I have learnt to be thankful to God no matter what the circumstances are, to be whole heartedly willing to help those who need it and many other numerous things.
Part B: Professional Life
Answer No. 1:
Understanding of my cultural heritage would assist me in working with individuals of direct workforce because true understanding of my culture has really made me close to it and value it. This feeling of love and respect towards my culture has helped me to realize how much the culture of each and every person matters to him and how much respect one have for his culture. This knowledge would help me with understanding the culture of my workforce individuals and show respect towards their culture. I have also learnt how wrong pre conceived assumption about someone culture can be so I plan to avoid making these mistakes while working in a diverse workforce environment.
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If will work with an open and prejudice free mind showing respect to individuals and their culture and expecting the same treatment for myself and my culture I believe I will be able to achieve great results.
Answer No. 2:
I do not think that my cultural background will pose any challenge in working effectively in diverse setting. Although my cultural values are deeply rotted in my personality they would not hinder my efficiency in diverse setting because tolerance, respect for others and acknowledgement and acceptance of differences that we have with other had also been taught to me along with my cultural values.
While my family background is a mix of different nationalities and have influence of those nationalities to a certain extent, I consider myself to be a product of normal American culture so I think I can easily understand and get along in a diverse environment. I truly believe that my cultural background, religious and social teachings by my elders would actually help me to work in a diverse environment.
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Answer No. 3:
This course has helped me in better understanding of the cultural differences in between the individuals and the effect of these cultural differences in social environment. Through this course I have learnt on a more practical and advance level to recognize cultural differences, as they are not always evidently visible, and to take proper steps to minimize these differences. Minimizing these differences is important as they have the ability to pose as a hurdle in daily life.
Through the information gained in this course I would try overcoming the cultural barrier in the best possible way. These cultural barriers are mainly because of the difference in communication method, perception and pre conceived assumption. This course has helped me realize the importance of developing a flexible attitude which can be altered according to the other party involved to achieve the best results. Overcoming these barriers in a diverse workplace is important because without overcoming them I and other individual would not be productive for the organization.
This cultural autobiography of mine describes me to quiet an extent and one can easily understand my personality and the reason for it being like how it is. This autobiography describes what factors have influenced me in what way but it does not depict my complete personality because an individual’s personality do have certain aspects that are not related to his cultural background but are developed due to his experience. No doubt can however be laid on the fact that understanding ones culture give an insight about ones personality to quiet an extent.