This I Believe

Lahdan - Walnut Creek, California
Entered on January 7, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe that the world is transparent. Growing up, I was brought up in multicultural family: my mother Iranian and my father American. Coming from a diverse background, my parents taught me to be open and mindful to different cultures. Starting at a very early age, my life was intertwined between two completely different and distinct cultures. Living in America, I found it very difficult to understand and relate to my Iranian heritage. I was afraid to step beyond the standard boundaries of my enclosed world of America and its customs. My mother, however, made it her duty to expose me to Persian culture. She always told me, “You should be proud to be Iranian.” Yet for me, immersing myself into unknown and different world was a challenge. I was expected, to learn both English and Farsi and was educated on Persian traditions and history. Engaging with my family was seen as my foremost duty. Although, I first found this transition to be useless and unnecessary, I soon grew to respect it.

Now that I am sixteen years old, I see my exposure to Iranian culture not as a burden but as an opportunity to broaden my horizons. Learning a new language has given me the chance to better connect with my culture but also with my family. I have grown to respect the differences between my parent’s cultures and have learned much from them.

From this experience, I now see the world as a melting pot of different customs, languages, and ways of life. Like my aunt, who is cross-cultural trainer, I plan on traveling the world and learning about different cultures. My aunt has dedicated her entire life to interacting with the world’s people and has become infatuated with what she has discovered. She was willing to open her mind, and see the world not as confinement but as and opening to new findings. From this, my aunt was able to expand her knowledge and attain success.

I have discovered that in our society today, many people are not willing explore the world and experience new customs. America, for example, being so immense, has become disconnected with the rest of the world. Many people are not willing or seem to have no interest in learning about new cultures, other than their own. Many boundaries have also been created, which have concealed the world’s transparencies. I believe however, that as individuals we have an obligation to ourselves to open up to the world. Without a clear understanding of our world, we cannot expand our knowledge and grow individuals. Although the first step into a different culture may seem highly challenging, the result is highly rewarding and provides one with an ample supply of knowledge.