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X. The Tradition of Reciprocity
This tradition is detailed as being one that is “second-generation.” Ralph, being much older than I, has enjoyed this tradition by being able to give back to his mother and father and siblings for what they did for him when he was growing. He has enjoyed it not just because he owes something for what his parents and sibling gave but because he was taught to care for others and help them because you would value their help too if you needed it.
I have not fully engaged in this tradition yet but certainly elements of it exist in my life. The reciprocity in my life has come from parents and grandparents asking my opinion of politics and life and showing interest in helping me succeed. This has shown me that my family believes in me and deeply wants me to be able to live the way I want to live.
My parents have taught and raised me and turned around and asked me to educate them. I have not been able to help them succeed in their daily life at work or at home. Yet, when I am home from college, I do everything I can to help my mother because she is helping finance my college education right now and without her, my dream in life would be stagnant.
XI. The Tradition of Independent Thinking
This tradition in my life is far different from the way it manifested itself in Ralph’s life. I always valued independent thinking and enjoyed being different. But I did not derive this from an ethnic background or from my parents.
My parents encouraged me to be different and I was rewarded for going above and beyond the call when it came to doing projects and work succesfully. I used to create comedy shorts with a video camera and later with LEGOS for a camera that came with Lego moviemaking software. I spent hours improvising for family and friends. But my being different was not limited to laughs and lately has grown to pursuing a political future that leads one down the road less traveled.
Ralph recounts how he witnessed bullying for being different. I was never really bullied but I was teased. And I played along with it and sometimes tried to turn it around just because I figured that if this is the only joy one can find in life, well, he/she must lead sad pathetic lives.
Ralph also describes witnessing other students being bullied or teased. I witnessed that too but in contrast to other students, I would often talk to the people who were teased instead of bullying them if those were made fun of ended up talking to me. I do not enjoy teasing people or being mean. I would rather work out the problems a person has through talking to them then spit words of belittlement at them.
My thinking has evolved and given me the confidence to live today. Knowing that I was given the privilege to learn how to think and get to a place where I feel I can make an honest contribution to the future of society after twenty years of living is fulfilling. It makes me prideful of the choices I have made in life.
XII. The Tradition of Charity
Charity did not take on as big of a role in my life as I would have liked it to have. However, I learned at a young age through programs created in my hometown’s school system that it was important to give back to those who had very little to live off of.
The tradition of charity drew me to the story of Robin Hood in my childhood years. I loved the idea of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. And today, I still enjoy it.
I grew up in a family that gave away anything we could to Goodwill Stores, a popular consignment shop chain in our area similar to Salvation Army. Clothing, toys, stuffed animals, dishes, pieces of furniture, etc. were often dropped off so people could buy these items.
In school, a canned food program was held during my years in elementary and junior high school every Christmas. By high school, I was conditioned to believe that Christmas time was a time for charity. Our school was never much for charity at any other time of the year.