My name is Juan Arturo Saldivar. I am a Logistics Supervisor as well as a Youth Mentor. I have worked in the Logistics field for seven years and have been mentoring youth for four years. I was introduced to the logistics field after working four years in the geriatric health care field. I am looking seeking an opportunity with a strong company where I can use the experience and education I have acquired in the field of psychology. I have been able to use my education and experience in all areas of my professional career.
I currently am strongly seeking a career that parallels the youth mentoring I currently do. I have worked well with adolescence ranging from ages twelve to nineteen. I have had positive results with my mentoring and many of the teens I have worked with have changed their ways of life as well as the way they behave and relate with others. I was first introduced to the teen mentoring program by a church I previously attended. The parents of the teens sought after a road where they did not have to fear the dangers that other teens in the area were introduced to. Drugs, alcohol, and gangs where simply a few issues that these teens were influenced by or involved with at the beginning of the program. With weekly group meeting we were able to encourage the teens to become interested in school again, as well as become more involved or aware of their family and loved ones. When I decided to leave the program it was to open another chapter of this organization at another location with similar results. I was able to train a qualified individual to take my position before I left the program and have been able to review the status and progress of the program on a regular basis.
Along with working with adolescence I have been able to work with couples who are struggling with their relationships. I have been able to speak and direct both married, recently married, pre-marital, and dating couples. I have been able to speak with these couples and have directed them into seeing the issues that appear to be breaking the relationship they have with each other as well as allow them to state the issues they believe they have. By doing this I have been able to teach and show them that the problems they have can be worked out as well as overcome with patience, love, and communication. Although not all relationships have been saved, they all have been educated to the point they if they cannot be with each other, they understand what failed and with use it as a learning experience for future relationships. I have observed that many of the people I work with are second and third generation Mexicans, which do not currently practice traditions their parents once followed.
In working with both couples and adolescences I have observed the change in the male Mexican the most. I did research into the Mexican male and the rate of acculturation and loss of traditions. I was able to notice why some relationships fails and why many adolescence Mexican males behaved the way they did. Some of the behaviors these males had could be traced back to the lost of family traditions and their changing with the cultures around them. They lost much of the traditions brought to this country by their parents which led them to see the world in a different way. Many males did not believe it was necessary for them to work hard in school because they felt they would simply work as their fathers did, not knowing their fathers wanted them to continue their education so they could further themselves farther than they did. It was also this acculturation that broke many couple because of the mentality that marriage was able to be broken by divorce. The traditions brought from their fathers are that you marry once to raise a family with the one you marry. Many of these traditions can be seen more in third generation males as half or more of the traditions are lost in the father who is second generation Mexican. I was able to begin research on a related topic in which fathers teach their children lessons that they can pass on through the generations which will be able to help them in both the areas of relationships and children.
This research was first started with the observation of the teens in my mentor group and then merged with the marital couples lessons. I am a strong minded individual who seeks more than what people can see. Psychology, the logistics, and geriatric healthcare fields have prepared me to work in the field I currently desire. I am not only able to do a job well; I am able to make the job grow with me.
My strengths are that I love to learn new things all the time and love to talk as well as listen. My weaknesses are that I have a tough time become empathetic to people as well as becoming involved in to many activities that occur all at the same time which usually affects the quality of the end result. The thing that I enjoy they most is looking at my weaknesses and trying to overcome them. Sometimes I am able to while other times I fail terribly. This is who I am and what I would like to accomplish
Objective: To obtain a position where I can perform the skills I have acquired throughout my professional career and use them to optimize my work flow and growth with any company.
Work Experience: Tandy Brands 2010 – Present
*Distribution Center Picking Supervisor
Duties: Supervise and manage 25+ employees. Inspect product and packaging for quality/ employees as to prevent overtime while keeping production levels high/ Researched and presented monthly topics for safety meeting to prevent accidents/ & Processed orders daily while keeping track of proper inventory as pulled for distribution.
Charity Shoes and Clothing, LLC 2009 - 2010
*Manufacturing and Distribution Warehouse Supervisor
Duties: Supervise and manage 65+ employees/ Inspect and verify every staged order against shipping report/ Inspect product and packaging for quality/ Schedule employees as to prevent overtime while keeping production levels high/ Manage and control all incoming and outgoing shipments via freight, ups, overseas containers and will calls/ Researched and presented monthly topics for safety meeting to prevent accidents/ & Processed orders daily while keeping track of proper inventory as pulled for distribution.
Spherion 2008 – 2009
* Warehouse Distribution Center Wave Planner
Duties Supervise and manage 20+ employees/ Inspect and verify every staged order against shipping report/ Inspect product and packaging for quality/ Schedule employees as to prevent overtime while keeping production levels high/ Manage and control all incoming and outgoing shipments via freight, ups, overseas containers and will calls/ & Processed orders daily while keeping track of proper inventory as pulled for distribution against lot numbers from oldest material to newest.
Bomanite Corp. 2007 - 2008
* Warehouse Distribution Supervisor
Duties: Supervise and manage 15+ employees/ Inspect and verify every staged order against shipping report/ Inspect product and packaging for quality/ Schedule employees as to prevent overtime while maintaining production levels/ Manage and control all incoming and outgoing shipments via freight, ups, and will calls/ Research and test products before packaging/ Customer service/ & Processed orders daily while keeping track of proper inventory as pulled for distribution against lot numbers from oldest material to newest.
GE & Logistics 2004 - 2007
* Logistics Distribution Center Lead/Supervisor
Duties: Supervise and manage 10+ employees/ Inspect and verify every order against shipping report/ Inspect product and packaging for quality/ Manage and control all incoming and outgoing shipments via freight, ups, overseas containers and will calls/ & Processed orders daily while keeping track of proper inventory as pulled for distribution
Juan Saldivar 2811 Rio Grande Pass Mesquite, TX 75150 Cell: (214) 277-1129 Email: [email_address] Education: Argosy University Dallas, TX Bachelors of Psychology Degree 2009 – Present Mountain View College Dallas, TX Associates in Applied Sciences Degree 2008 – Graduated 2009 Sterling Health Center Dallas, TX Certification in Alternative Medical Therapy 2005 – 2007 Townview Health Magnet Center Dallas, TX High School Diploma 1996 – 2000 Skills: Inventory Control Specialist Bilingual: English Fluent, and Spanish Fluent Forklift Certified: Stand up, Sit down, Reach, Pivot, and Cherry Picker Safety Coordinator: First Aid and CPR Certified, and HAZMAT Certified WMS Trained and Certified: Latitude, PKMS, Manhattan Assoc., and Syspro 5S and Lean Six Sigma trained and certified *References are available upon request
When I first arrived at Argosy I was scared as well a nervous. I had thought about continuing school many times but never had the nerve to continue. After much research and soul searching I decided that I really wanted to help people in a way only I could understand, so I decided to go in the field of Psychology. As the years passed I learned more than I thought I could learn and was able to put what I had learned into practice. I now am able to see my education at work with my mentoring and cannot wait to get to the point when I can counsel and help people with mental disorders or simply problems they see greater then they really are. I also want to be able to continue working with teens and children and show mentor them into doing better than they are used to as well as getting out of the cycle they believe they are included in. The education I have learned at Argosy has helped my strength, which is learning new thing as well as gotten me involved in so many activities outside of work and school.
During this module one term appeared which to many people could cause much discussion. An expert to one person may not be considered an expert to another. The level in which the said expert is also places could vary from person to person. The topic of who would be considered a physical fitness expert and the ranking will vary from person to person. The truth is that we all have our own views, and although we may be able to share these views with others we cannot impose these views onto others. In my eyes a physical fitness expert would be a college instructor of physical fitness and wellness, a doctor of sports related medicine, a physical therapist, a physical education teacher, a myotherapist, and a physical fitness trainer. The sequence of these position spans from what I believe to be a person of great expertise to a person of lesser expertise. None the less all are considered to be experts in my eyes.
The college instructor of physical fitness tops my list because of the constant up to date information he/she receives. He/she may be the first to learn of new methods and techniques in the physical fitness world that are actually backed with scientific and clinical proof that it works. Anyone can say a product or technique works, but the proof in studies and trials with data to support their declarations is in my eyes more valuable. Also the college instructor is one who studies the internal and external body so he/she not only is capable of teaching this field but can also put it into practice. Many instructors that I have looked up have vast education in the field and many times are in the process of developing something new or already have.
A doctor in sports medicine would be my second ranking as he/she too would have to study long and hard to reach the position they acquire. He/she would be aware of techniques to be fit and stay fit as well as practice a manner of doing it safely. The doctor of sports medicine would practice the field and like the instructor may develop his/her own personal technique for fitness and wellness. The doctor of sports medicine would also be able to determine what a person in a specific level of fitness should do to better their overall level of fitness to improve their current status or even move to a higher status in fitness and wellness. The doctor would have the vast knowledge of internal and external medicine and would be able to take into consideration areas that others may over look such as heart health and joints to determine what would be the best manner to be and stay fit. The third on my list would be the physical therapist. The physical therapist in my eyes knows what people to wrong and how to prevent the injuries from happening. His/her area of expertise would result from seeing what people do to themselves that cause them to get injured and most importantly how to recover from the injury to be just as or better than the previous physical condition. The physical therapist informs the person on how to maintain the fitness level they have as well as instructs them on what could be done if a higher level of fitness is desired. The physical therapist would also have gone through much study to reach the position he/she has acquired and also would have much hands on experience with seeing and helping people reach their desired levels of fitness.
The fourth to my list was a physical fitness teacher. His/her level of expertise would come from various areas of learning as well as various areas of practice. The teacher would know the differences from a child fitness level and an adult fitness level and what could be expected along the way. He/she would also be knowledgeable as to what is appropriate and what is not at particular ages and the fitness levels that could be held. He/she may not have as much experience or education as the previous examples, but because it would be a constant development with different ages and levels of fitness I would consider him/her to be an expert in the field.
Fifth on the list would have to be the myotherapist. This person would be able to determine how fitness levels differ from an internal stand point not only an external standpoint. This person would be able to see how the muscles are used to be fit and how they could be kept at proper levels of fitness as to not harm the muscles, tendons, or any other parts of the body in the process of reaching your desired fitness level. This person would be able to then tell you how to reach those goals by manner of looking back at your history and health. The myotherapist would be able to show you how to use your muscles in such a way that would stay fit and continue to improve with time. The myotherapist’s expertise would come from hands on experience as well as proper education and years of study in the field.
The sixth and final person in the list would have to be the physical fitness trainer. This person’s job is for you to be in the best physical condition possible. The reason why this position was the lowest is due to the openness of availability to be a physical fitness trainer. Many times formal education is not required as well as knowledge of the body. This is also due to many establishments allowing only their methods of training to take place so that the consumers make the decision to go to a particular establishment by means of success history. None the less, the physical fitness trainer’s job is to have the person in their desired level which does require knowledge of the field and experience with different body and lifestyle types to determine the best method to have a person reach their desired level of fitness. These are the six physical fitness experts I have chosen as well as the level in which I believe them to be ranked. Again these are only my opinions and others will surely have their own. These experts in physical fitness are as I see them and researched them. There are many more positions and levels available, but this is my point of view. Truth be told, there may not really be a physical fitness expert to truly exist as there are billions of different bodies in the world and any of them could and would state the other side if a technique did not work on a them. Each one having a different level of education and experience would change the level of expertise in the field as well as how highly they are ranked.
Male Teen Acculturation and the Rate in Which Traditions are Lost Due to Family Ties and Social Influences through Mexican American Generations
Juan A. Saldivar
PSY302 Research Methods
Professor Jennifer Rawley
Argosy University Dallas, TX
December 21, 2009
Abstract In recent years there has been little to no research done on the rate in which Mexican American traditions are lost due to acculturation or the rate in which acculturation occurs. There is a relationship between the rate of acculturation and the strength of family ties which pass on or hold on to these traditions that may be held dear to the Mexican male culture. There is also a relationship between the generation of the Mexican male and the rate of acculturation that takes place in today’s society. This research compares the rate in which acculturation occurs in first, second, and third generation Mexican males in grades seven to twelve between the ages of thirteen and eight-teen as well as the influence differences between family and society to keep these traditions alive in their culture.
This research project is intended to determine the role that family values play in acculturation in teen males and the rate in which acculturation occurs through the generations. In the article Family Acculturation, Family Leisure Involvement, and Family Functioning among Mexican-Americans (Journal of Leisure Research 2006 4th Quarter, Vol. 38 Issue 4, p475 21p) it states that family values play an important role in acculturation and the rate in which Mexican traditions are lost due to acculturation. Family involvement is vital to keeping traditions alive in Mexican Americans but may have to compete with society to keeps these traditions going generation after generation. As time passes it is apparent that traditions among males are being lost due to acculturation and the influences that society plays in contrast to the role and influences from family and fellow Mexicans and Mexican Americans. Language, family roles, and cultural traditions are what are being lost due to acculturation and are being replaced by other American norms. Media, peers, the internet, and even other acculturated teens are what are causing acculturation to take place at an accelerated rate. The loss of involvement by parents and other elders in the family as well as the communication, or lack thereof, also influence the rate in which acculturation occurs or subsides. In this research data is to be gathered and examined to determine an approximate age and rate in which acculturation occurs in Mexican American males in the first, second, and third generation.
Methods To begin this research the team will first begin with properly forming a consent form that will state the purpose of the test being administered as well as the procedure in which the tests and the data gathered will be obtained and used. The tests will be administered in the form of a survey which will include questions regarding age, generation status, family ties and influences, as well as social influences and bonds. All the information gathered will be completely anonymous and volunteer based. Once the consent form has been clearly established a survey will be administered which will include questions to be answered in the “Yes” or “No” form as well as questions that involve a rating to be reported. Since the age and generation of the person is vital to the research a section of questions will be presented with the exception of the name of the person being given. While administering the survey the administrator will be recording the time in which the survey was begun and completed. This time stamp will allow the research team to determine if the information gathered is significant or was done with negative intentions as well as to provide inaccurate results. The process in which to administer the survey will include choosing one hundred Mexican males at random in each grade level beginning with grade seven up to grade twelve. As well as grade level, age will play an important part in gathering the information, followed by the generation group in which the participant will be included with. Once the data is collected the information will be sorted out beginning with the generation, followed by the age and grade level. The data will then be further sorted by influence strength of society and family. The higher of the two will be considered the main influence in the data gathering. The data will then be placed in an ANOVA form to place the results accordingly for viewing. This will allow the research team to view when acculturation is begun and at its fastest rate as well as determining if society and family ties play a significant role in the rate in which acculturation occurs. The results will then be examined to determine whether the hypothesis (If family values are presented as strongly as counter values, then acculturation will take place at a slower rate allowing values and traditions to be kept in family cycle longer ) has been proven or disproved by the data and information gathered.
Male Teen Acculturation and the Rate in Which Traditions are Lost Due to Family Ties and Social Influences through Mexican American Generations
There have been little to no recent studies done to determine or test the rate in which traditions are lost and acculturation begins in Mexican American male teens of first, second, and third generations. This information is vital in preserving Mexican traditions in a culture that chooses to acculturate at an alarming rate. One’s self knowledge and background can be lost due to society or family ties. It is important for people of other culture and backgrounds to remember their roots as well as their history and how they have grown as a community through the years in history. Many times a culture can be lost simply because it acquires the roles or traditions of another culture and may abandon their one. Many things are being done to preserve not only the Mexican culture in America, but the African, Asian, and even Native American culture which is becoming less and less apparent in today’s society due to acculturation into another society or culture. The blending of cultures is also affecting the rate in which acculturation or the losses of one’s traditions are being lost through time. Many times when blending takes place among cultures, there is not an agreement as to which culture will be dominant so the culture is removed all together and a new culture begins with acculturation into the nearest culture. Although new cultures are forming and becoming more apparent, the original cultures and traditions are becoming extinct. It is only a matter of time before traditions and influences from the original culture are no longer apparent in a person’s personality and characteristics. This will then lead to lack of self knowledge as well as lack of history and knowledge of where they come from or belong.
Teen Mexican males are losing their traditions and roles in the family due to the rate of acculturation and the influences that society has upon them. In traditional terms, the Mexican male is to be a respected strong leader of not only the family, but of the community. This role is quickly becoming less and less seen as acculturation tells these Mexican first, second and third generation teens that they can be independent. These male teens then lose the respect and leadership role which later leads to depression and substance abuse (Dissertation Abstracts International, Vol 48(1-B), Jul, 1987. pp. 264). This lack of self causes the Mexican teen to later begin to seek the role that was once given to him but no longer possesses due to the following of a different culture or influence. The role of the male in a Mexican family is vital to the survival of the family as well as the traditions that come along with the role. The male is considered the backbone of the Mexican family as well as the adhesive that keeps the family together during hard times. The structure of the family is also held together by the male role influence as he is considered to be the head of the family not only of the household. The head male role must be held by a male who is willing and able to run a household not only in his own domain, but anywhere his bloodline dwells. He is to one day become considered the adviser as well as the provider and protector. These traditions are becoming lost due to acculturation.
In the process of gathering the research data, this acculturation was apparent in older third generation males as well as the younger second generation males. After all of the data was gathered, the data was entered to reveal that older first generation males kept stronger traditions and values than second or third generation males. Also it was apparent that younger first generation males had stronger traditions and values than second or third generation males in the same category. As generations began to get farther and farther away from the original males, the acculturation was stronger and more apparent. Although the knowledge of traditions and roles was still known or partially known, the practice of these traditions and roles was not seen. Many much of this was due to the time spent with the culture of acculturation which the other percentage was due to the lack of influence by the family to keep these traditions alive. Very low percentages were reported for males that were still encouraged to keep his traditions and roles in the family strong while at the same time wanted to keep the traditions and role themselves. In families where the roles and traditions were encouraged, the influence was apparent in both the older and younger males. This encouragement was then seen in the number of years in which the male spent in the country. As time passed and the encouragement was constant, the traditions were less noticeable than before with a slight increase in the beliefs the males had. Once the teen entered adulthood and moved away from the traditional influence the rate of acculturation becomes apparent and increased rapidly in the males and the roles he once held (Dissertation Abstracts International, Vol 48(1-B), Jul, 1987. pp. 264). It may be said by the American Census that in the near future the Mexican American population will be the majority, but due to the loss of traditions, the culture and influences that society now holds may still be heading in the direction in which it already is.
In summary, the hypothesis for the research project preformed was proven to be correct, despite the percentage that was reported. It was seen by the results and the data gathered that if the traditions and influences are strongly held to a male then the rate of acculturation will decrease. The data also shows that once this influence of traditions and roles are removed or less apparent, than the rate of acculturation dramatically increases to reveal the true strength that society has on these Mexican American males regardless of generation.
Buriel, R., & And, O. (1982). The Relationship of Traditional Mexican American Culture to Adjustment and Delinquency Among Three Generations of Mexican American Male Adolescents. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences , 4 (1), 41-55. Retrieved from ERIC database.
Freedman, C. (2009). Role of perceived partner responsiveness on Mexican American males' pain severity and depressive symptomatology. Dissertation Abstracts International , 69, 7137. Retrieved from PsycINFO database.
Orozco, C. (1999, June). Factors contributing to the psychosocial adjustment of Mexican American college students. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A , 59, 4359. Retrieved from PsycINFO database.
Christenson, O., Zabriskie, R., Eggett, D., & Freeman, P. (2006). Family Acculturation, Family Leisure Involvement, and Family Functioning among Mexican-Americans. Journal of Leisure Research , 38 (4), 475-495. Retrieved from SPORTDiscus with Full Text database.
References Continued Hartung, B. (1987, July). Acculturation and family variables in substance abuse: An investigation with Mexican American high school males. Dissertation Abstracts International , 48, 264. Retrieved from PsycINFO database. Garcia, M. (1984). Americans All: The Mexican American Generation and the Politics of Wartime Los Angeles, 1941-45. Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press) , 65 (2), 278-289. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.
The participant for this activity is a twenty five year old African American woman. She lives in a midrange priced loft in downtown Dallas studying Law at SMU. She comes from a lower class family who still lives in the south side of Dallas. She does not talk to her family much and feels that her family would hold her back if she talked to them more often. She works as an assistant for an attorney in downtown Dallas and tends to only associate around people she works and goes to school with. She says that she relates better with these people because they understand her and keep her focused on her goals.
The participant states that she associates very rarely with people of her ethnic background because of the way they act. The people she associates with at work or at school are all people of different ethnic background than hers. She feels that all of the other students of her ethnic background that try to associate with her pull her toward a place where she does not want to be. She states that all these others are worries about or how they look and what they drive. She says, “They give the African American people the look that everyone expects us to have. They talk without intelligence and as if they are back in the hood.” She also states “I want people to look at my mind and my accomplishments, not the color of my skin and what all other black people are known for.” She feels that since she is the only person in her family who has graduated and the first to attend college, her family will only do as the other students of her ethnic background would do. Hold her back from reaching her goals, and make her feel guilty because she is not around much.
She says she feels discriminated from other African Americans because they consider her a “Sell Out” due to how she thinks and who she associates with. She feels that they judge her because she wants to succeed in her life and become something that she could never be if she did the things that everyone else she knows of her ethnic background do. Living in downtown Dallas gives her the feeling that she is on her way to accomplishing her dreams of a better life. She does not visit her family due to them asking to borrow money and then making her feel guilty because she does not give them money more often. “They have the ability to go out and do something with their lives too,” she says. “It is not my fault that they do not take the initiative to at least find a job. I got tired of hearing everyone always complain about how much food stamps they got and how much section 8 would only pay for. They receive a check for doing nothing each month, receive free food and housing, free medical benefits, and even get their bills paid yet they have the nerve to complain. I know how people think about those people and in all that I have seen the majority of them are African American,” she also said emotionally. She further states that she did not want to be a part of that lifestyle. She did not want to be seen as a freeloader. The reason she wants to study law is so that she can one day reach a point in politics where she can make this all go away. She says that if all the benefits go only to people who actually need it the government would have so much more money to give to more important things like schools. She was a very emotional participant. She knew what she wanted out of like and did all that she needed to do to accomplish her goals. She lost friends, family, and association with much of her ethnic society because of how she now believes. As a Mexican, I see family as one of the most important things in life. I talk and communicate what I believe in and how I stand and am respected for it.
I do not have to stop being who I am to peruse something else in life. If my family or friends do not agree with what I am doing they just tell me good luck and that they hope everything works out for me. As far as moving away from family to peruse a dream, I do not agree with it. There are times in my life when I moved away from my family to be something different but realized that I was more like them than I thought. The difference was that I knew when to wear a certain hat, and who I could wear certain hats around. I did not have to turn around on how I grew up and was raised; I just fixed it to fit my needs. I used what I had and what I knew or wanted to know to fit my need without turning completely from my friends, family, or culture. Later because I did not turn from those things, those things turned for me. They began to accept who I was and who I wanted to be. My friends and family tell me all the time that they are now proud of me because I did not lose my family to fit my desires. I spend ninety percent of my time with people of my ethnic background as opposed to my participants five. The reason she has only five percent is because she has a classmate who she at times e-mails or messages about school work. Her family is less than one percent because she tends to only visit them on major holidays. She does not call to check how they are doing, and neither do they. There is coming a time, she says, where she feels she will stop any communication with her family all together. She does not feel they nor she will be bothered by this.
I have learned that different ethnic backgrounds handle different situations different. I cannot judge and say that my manner of handling situation are better than the way another ethnic group handles the same situations, but I can make suggestions on how they should be handled. The other ethnic group will most likely continue doing things their own way due to the longevity of how they have been doing things, but it never hurts to suggest different options. You never know what may happen just by suggesting something different.
Many people ask why culture is important yet they never seem to look at the big picture. Culture is important for many reasons including blending, knowledge, and experiences. We grow from other cultures not only by the way they think, but by the way they live as well. Knowledge comes from these items and what we experience from the interactions between cultures.
What I am is different to many people. To some I am an American, while to others I am a Mexican, Mexican American, Latino, Hispanic, Chicano, or even a Chilango. I am me. I like who I am and at times get tired because of the way people see me. Many times when I meet people the first thing that they see is color. Some people may not even talk to me for a long while because they do not believe that I speak English. Many times I am the one who has to initiate the conversation so that they can see that I can speak their language. When I meet someone the first thing that I do is say “Hello.” The worst thing that someone can do is tell me in their language that they do not speak English. Many times they at least make an effort to say “Hello” back and then the communication can begin. Body language as well as sounds and motions can help communicate with someone who does not speak the same language as you. What stops someone from learning about other cultures is not trying. You do not have to speak someone’s language to be able to understand them or how they feel. You do not need to speak with them to be able to know what it is that they like to do or eat. All you have to do is give the effort and the connection will happen and with this comes the communication. I have met many people in my short time being alive and many times I have not spoken their language.
What I do when this happens is speak my language while I demonstrate with my hands what it is that I mean or want. Because they see I am trying they give an extra effort to try and communicate with me and then the connection occurs. Once the connection occurs we begin to speak without words and understand what each other wants or needs with very little effort. It is amazing what a little effort can accomplish. Once the communication is established then you can blend the cultures together. We without noticing have blended other cultures into our lives. Sometimes we eat what we think is one cultures food without thinking were it really came from. Fashion, food, music, and many other things around us come from many different cultures. Many times we may even see similar acts taking part between different cultures without ever interaction with them at a previous time. One night at a company Christmas party music began to play. It had an African beat to it and a Latin rhythm. I began to dance to it while my African friends from Nigeria began to dance also. We noticed that we were dancing the same way yet had never seen each other dance before. Also when we noticed it we asked each other where we learned how to dance to this type of music. I told them that this is how I dance to Salsa and Merenge music and they responded that that was the way they danced in their tribal dances. I was shocked but later understood how two different races and cultures could be able to dance the same way without ever knowing each other. It turns out that at a time or another Africa (Nigeria) and Mexico were, at one time, settled or owned by the Spanish. Turns out that music and dancing was one of the things they left behind and was carried on throughout generations. It was fun to see how the blending of two cultures could have happened because of something so small. This experience gave me new friends and a very nice and beautiful girlfriend for a long while until they had to return to their country due to family issues.
Knowledge also comes with cultures. I would have not looked into the two cultures if I had never known that we had likenesses in our cultures. I learned many things about both of our cultures as well as things from my new friends. I have many friends from different cultures and backgrounds and every time we meet we all learn something new about each other. We learn how each of us lives, grow and interact within our own culture. We also learn how to act and live among the world with the different cultures. Our favorite thing, however, when we all meet up is discovering how each culture eats. We all love our own food, but when we try each other’s food it is like opening a new book and discovering how they really live. We have found that you can learn a lot from just the food we eat. We learn what the country they live in or come from is like. If meat is scarce or not readily available we notice that more of the common foods served are vegetables or other things that can be grown like fruits or grain. If the area they come from is near water we notice that seafood and fish is a large part of their meal. With each meal comes a new lesson and with the lesson comes knowledge of how they live and grow. Also, in my opinion, this is one of the best ways to learn about another culture. You walk away from the table both full of knowledge and full in spirit; not to mention full in your belly.
Knowledge can be seen in many different forms. Spiritual knowledge can come from seeing how a culture lives but also how they interact among each other. I have seen and noticed that in some countries the oldest people are the most respected and admired while in other countries they are pushed aside to make room for the new trends and thinkers. This may be why some countries grow in a positive way while others grow into disaster.
In my culture the older people have already seen many things and learned many things. What they tell us and teach us is based on this knowledge and experience. They know because it has happened before or because it has happened to them before. Many times this is looked at as words of wisdom while to others it is the way the old ones did it and now is the time to move forward. I have experienced that there is nothing wrong with learning from the past because times were simpler then and therefore simple things can be helpful, but also because it is a stepping stone for us to move forward. In my lifetime I have notice that my culture does not always agree with what I do or say and they let me know it. Many times it is because I am moving forward and leaving the ways of the past in the past. Other times I notice that they take my new ideas and compare them to the older ideas and see that they are improvements. Sometimes I am told that I am leaving the ways of my culture to agree or abide by the ways of another culture. When this happens I have no other response besides telling them that now is the time for us to move forward. We should be able to use past knowledge to grow from not grow to. We need to be able to take an idea that someone long ago thought of and make it better. There is no reason why we should stop and be happy with the way that went on. We may even be able to take someone else’s thoughts, inventions, ideas, or beliefs and make them so that it is better not only for our culture but for someone else reading or learning from us. We would like to do the same if it were someone else so why not share the ideas. We see in today’s world how everyone is learning and growing from one another and that should continue. This country started and is continuing this way by allowing vast cultures to enter and teach us new things. It would be a shame to lose this ability for our coming generations. We have learned much from each other and though some hard aches have occurred, we need to see what good has come out as well. Again many people ask why culture is important, and the main reason it is to me is very simple; to grow from where we all were to a height were we all can be seen.
I plan on continuing my education until the day I die. I tell all of my students in my youth group that every day is a gift given to us and each day is an opportunity to learn something new. The size of the learning does not matter, but the point of continuing to find something new to learn is the journey. If one day passes where you learned nothing, then that day was wasted and you might as well have died that day. I always tell myself that I have to continue to learn something new because you never know when it will come to be used. I plan to continue to my Masters degree and then move on to my Doctorate. I wish to earn many degrees in my lifetime so that my children can never say it is difficult or that they are not smart enough. My parents came to this country to give us a better life and as they tell me constantly, “A person without an education is like a person wondering through a maze with no exit. Just lost!” they also tell me that each generation that follows needs to be better than the one before it.
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