Sometimes,I contemplate on my adolescent years and feel they were excitingyears as well as I was lucky growing up. Often, the parentage of achild determines, the happiness that one accrues, meaning people fromvery large families do not always decipher life in a droll orexultant manner. I say this because I come from a very largehousehold a family of fifteen and the tenth-born, yet, what I feltand experienced in my adolescent years was akin to a feeling ofcontentment and ecstasy. I grew up in the South where large familieswere the norm during the 1960’s for many African American. I comefrom a peasant parentage, but my family on the Jackson side ownedcountless acres of land. Growing up, was somehow, normal, but Iordinarily felt like I missed something in life. Numerous questionslingered on my mind, and I would often ponder on my later years.Perhaps, because of identifying with most of my family members andrelating their experiences to what I submitted to, I had an uncannyfeeling of failing in life. It was a fear of fading and cultivatingprosperity that would never materialize. However, musing on suchdoubts and fears perhaps expanded my perspective of the world. Fromthe onset, my family became like a seminary where I saw life fromdiverse perspectives as well as related with numerous people.
Therehas never been a shortage of role models in my life. Although a largefamily can sometimes shroud a young man’s success, I was lucky tohave a successful family and one that understood the importance ofthe opportunities that come with developing into adulthood. Largefamilies can have financial constraints, but then, the moral supportthat emanates from such large families can help a child grow into aneffective and flourishing person. I say this, from the perspectiveof a belonging my parents and kin from the extended familyespecially my great aunt and uncle would take the time to proffercounsel. Growing up among many children can be injurious to one’syouth if parents do not engage with their children prudently. However, my parents took care in their parenting. In fact, I definethe hallmark of parenting as engagement, warmth, counsel, andconsideration I received from my parents. Sometimes, I felt as if thecorrection they dispensed on us was unwarranted, but I have becomewiser and understand that it instilled discipline and a feeling ofsuccess. My parents were rather strict in the ways of life thus,aberrance warranted admonishing and criticism. With the support ofthe grown-ups in the family, my parents were quick to point out themistakes we made and passed a sentence that matched the turpitudecommitted. Through such steadfast, they instilled values and moralsas well as taught us how to respect and care for people.
Otherthan cultivating good values and learning the way to prosperity, Ialso learned a few things about relationships and commitment tofriendship during my adolescent years. The break of the dawn meantthat I would interact with so many different families, and thishelped shape my viewpoint on communications and interactions.Furthermore, I learned how to interact and communicate efficaciouslyas well as generate resolutions to challenges posed by communicationbreakdown. Neighboring families were also large, and this meant thatinteractions involved many people. As such, I learned differentpersonalities and how each personality is diverse. Members of eachfamily had their challenges and perception on some issues thus, thisdiversity created a sense of inquisitiveness, which perhapscontributed immensely to my choice of career the human servicefield. I enjoy interacting with people of all races, communicate withthem, and finding out what they treasure in their lives.
Althoughmy family played an imperative function in shaping my behaviors,peers and peer pressure also contributed immensely especially onissues such as sexual orientation, discipline, and interactions. Likeother children, peers and peer pressure formed part of my growing up,but fortunately, the peer pressure I encountered was a bit positive.My peers taught me things that my parents were either embarrassed toteach me or they had no idea whether I was supposed to be taught. Sexeducation, relations with members of the opposite sex, anddevelopment to maturity are formed part of the teachings. However,peer pressure would become too much at times especially when some ofmy peers relocated, others grew too fast, and others fell into thetrap of drug use and became disillusioned. However, then, I wouldengage in activities with my siblings or school and find positivethings about life. As I got older, I started to focus more on mylife and pondered on how I would become prosperous as my great unclewho had a big ranch. Furthermore, my parents taught me an importantlesson about life people make choices in life and take differentpaths, and it is always wise to take a path to success.
Partsof my younger years were spent in the Army. I joined the army at theage of eighteen, and the change was fast and unforgiving. Once I lefthome and joined the army, I entered a new world, a world where one’sdevelopment is shaped by rules and an imposing code of conduct.However, some of the psychosocial development stages were the samebut on a different level. For instance, role models took on acompletely new meaning. I saw professional army men in differentroles, men who were not related to me and were very confident andsure of themselves. That opened my eyes to a new level of confidence.It came from men who knew who they were and who were good at whatthey did. It made me yearn for such a confidence and commitment tosomething unrelated to me when I grew up. The army can be anunforgiving place if one is not careful, but it can also shape a boyinto a man of character and values. To me, it did the latter, and Iam ever grateful for the 20 years I spent in the army. Furthermore,life in the army involved interacting with so many young men, and Iused the interactions I had cultivated at home to make friends andelude negative peer pressure. In fact, the pressure in the armyturned to one of competition rather than show-off, and this made meyearn for greater things as well as cultivate inspiration.
Growingup in the south, I saw racial prejudice as the most common form ofprejudice that most people are accustomed in America. However, otherforms of prejudice such as creed, ethnic, group prejudice, gender,religious persuasion, and political affiliations among others exist.Prejudicesresult from the way people perceive others based on simple mental,physical, and social differences. I grew up in Alabama just acrossthe river from Montgomery Alabama where the “Civil Right Movement”took place, and I learned that prejudice and bias are sources ofsocial evils and disharmony. Growing up in a large family andenrolling in the army opened my eyes to the evils of prejudice andtaught me important lessons on interactions and recognition of peopledespite the social, political, biological, economic, or religiousdifferences that exist. I learned that I cannot control what otherthink or feel about me, but I can control how I feel and react toracial prejudice. In fact, I saw interactions as the first step toending prejudice as one understands the other group and appreciatethe differences that exist between groups. During childhood stages oflife, we are more adaptive to other peoples’ differences,uniqueness, strengths, and weaknesses, but with time, we startdeveloping certain stereotypes. Prejudices are quite offensive andare not at all amusing as some people may deem them to be thus, Ilearned that respect, appreciation, and recognition of people’sinterests and differences can eradicate prejudices.
Iremember an instance, when my uncle, who was homophobic, treated agay couple with respect. One day, in one of the family reunion, I sawmy uncle being overly courteous to a gay couple and even exchangedpleasantries with the couple. I knew he harbored abhorrence to gaypeople, but his reaction surprised me greatly, and I realized that ifwe only we respected people’s choices and recognized theiridentities, then we would be heading to a path of inclusion. As Ireflect back on my adolescent years and my life as an adult, I cannow see that I had a normal and a well-cultured youth. I learned thatthe psychosocial development stages of adolescence, as well as all ofthe development stages, are an important part of our development, andit is very important that we go through them successfully. I agreethat if we do not go through the psychosocial development stagessuccessfully, we can become fixated on that area, and this can behard for us to move on from that particular stage. Family support isparamount to that development and being accustomed to a society ofwise counsel is an aspect of success.