This I Believe

Natalie - Littleton, Colorado
Entered on May 7, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Like a Snowflake or a Fingerprint

Even though my life so far has been fairly short, I have seen an excess of people from all different walks of life. Through my discrete observations, I have come to believe that each and every family, just like snowflakes or fingerprints, is completely unique. I believe differences, however subtle they may be, make life interesting, for better or for worse.

I have witnessed the parents who are far too overbearing and do not let their children have any breathing room. It seems the overbearing parents do not necessarily have their children’s best interests in mind. I was traipsing through Target when I heard a shrill woman’s voice followed by a whimpering child’s. The woman got nearer and I could hear her more clearly, she shrieked, “Jeremy, don’t pick that up! Jeremy, do not touch those, those are grown up things!” Then I heard the boys retort which was a barrage of disconnected words, but his meaning was plain. I could unmistakably see that he was just curious and nothing more. The mother was too concerned with herself to take a moment from bustling her son along to stop and explain things or maybe satisfy Jeremy’s curiosity under her supervision. She walked past me with a domineering air you could almost taste. She herded Jeremy along the aisles, never letting a single limb leave her side. This occurrence was not familiar to me, which further supported my belief that every family has one of a kind distinctions that they bring into the world.

My family does not seem normal to me, but I have begun to accept it. Tolerant is a word I could use to describe it. It is an enigma how my parents both became so accepting of different types of people since I know my grandparents are somewhat racist and homophobic. The latter most likely comes from their strong Christian beliefs, which is also something my mother did not carry onto her own children. As a general statement, my immediate family is open-minded about all different types of human beings.

The other type of family that I have recently encountered has been the aggressive, possibly abusive family. I was over at my friend’s house and even with guests over the yelling was abundant. When everyone sat down for dinner things were slightly more subdued until the youngest of the group started acting up, perhaps because he was bored of all the adult conversation pressing against his hyperactive ears. The mother slapped the boy across the face, yet even this physical warning did not stop the boy from acting up again. Then she took her son into the next room, laid him across her lap and spanked him. I never experienced this type of punishment in my childhood so fear inoculated me when I witnessed this, but then my fear changed and I became irate. I thought, was physical authority the only way this woman knew how to discipline her son?

All of these events have provided lessons that I can take away and apply to my own life. From these experiences the most significant thing I have learned is that I believe that each and every family is completely unique and those differences color our world with diversity.