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One of the things that make human beings interesting and their lives captivating is the disparities they exhibit when they interact with each other. While many people would attribute this to education, I believe that culture, religion and parenting play a more pivotal role in making us who we are. Personally, I have witnessed first-hand the influence these factors have on the life of an individual. I come from a relatively large nuclear family consisting of both my parents and eight siblings.
I have three brothers and five sisters. My extended family is also large. I have four aunts and seven uncles. They too have families and some of their children (my cousins) have children of their own. My grandfather from my father side is still alive and my mother’s father died a while ago. However, my grandmothers from both sides are still alive and enjoying life at 90 years old. Up-to-date, their age and strength still perplexes me.
In regard to my family, my parents are educated and travel a lot throughout the year. Since my childhood, they have been a great success story to me and my siblings. Despite this, they have tried their level best to ensure that we develop and nurture good moral, get a good education and value others around us.
For example, my father always told us that we should never wait for change, but rather, we should make change happen. In my opinion, a life well lived is characterized by an individual’s ability to make a lasting difference in the lives of others. This has been my lifelong philosophy, and it has guided my life’s decisions regarding how I communicate, behave and interact with other people.
I would gladly say that my siblings and I are well accomplished. Two of my brothers work as policemen in Saudi Arabia, and the other one is studying with me here in the United States. One of my sisters is also in the United States and three of my younger sisters are still in middle school back at home. The other sister is married and has children.
My family and I are firm believers of Islam and that is why we are Muslims. We pray five times a day and preach a message of peace whenever possible. These traits have been developed over the generations and were passed to us by our parents. Due to the difficulties our parents and their parents faced at the hands of oppressive leaders and radical ideologies, they have always dedicated their efforts in ensuring that we get a better life than they did.
According to my father, not all Muslims are terrorists. He often tells us that Islamic terrorists are as a result of misguided beliefs propagated by ignorant leaders. As a result, my father ensured that we got quality education and right religious teachings as we grew up. He insisted that education was the only effective tool to defeat ignorance.
This assertion is true and the fact that me and some of my siblings are in the United States proves that my father would like us to lead an informed life free of negative influence. My stay in America has been fruitful in this regard. I am pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at Wilkes University here in the United States. Throughout my stay here, I have learnt to respect the ideas of others and their cultures. In turn, I have seen that people too can respect my culture if given the opportunity to learn more about what we believe in.
My family’s Background
My grandfather tells the most interesting stories. I once asked him why he despised the west so much. He gazed at the skies for a while and then started to narrate his story. It was early in the 1930s and he had just married my grandmother. According to him, the marriage ritual was not as relaxed as it is in today’s society, he had to prove that he was capable of providing for his wife and this meant that he had to meet all the requirements expected of him before tabling his proposal.
He did very well and after marrying his wife, he left his original home and established his own home elsewhere. Things were going so well until people started complaining of cattle rustlers that came from a neighboring town. In order to ensure security, the government had deployed some militias to curb this escalating security problem.
However, the response was not as smooth as expected. Many innocent people including my grandfather were harassed and threatened by these militia men to a point where an insurgence occurred. My grandfather was forced to move leaving behind everything that he owned. This reign of terror left a once peaceful community in a state of turmoil and hate filled valley.
That is when they moved to a new town for a fresh start where my father was born. He attributes the difficulties faced to western influences which seemed to promote violence, greed and corruption.
My family lives in Saudi Arabia. That is where me and my siblings were born and raised. However, my grandparents live in the rural areas of Saudi Arabia and we normally visit them whenever we gather at home for the holidays. My father’s father has a traditional way of looking at things and it would not be surprising if you argue about something that is an accepted norm in today’s society.
I remember our last visit soon after the month of Ramadan. I was browsing the internet and after observing me for a while, his curiosity got the best of him and he called me over. He wanted to know what I was doing and my attempts to explain the internet to him failed miserably.
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After a while, he stated that western ideologies and technologies are costing the Muslim community heavily. To better elaborate this sentiment, he stated that the new communication channels (mobile phones, computers and media devices) are being used by western societies to influence the Arabic community into following the western ways, which are perverse and poisonous to the Islamic culture.
He went ahead to state that women are supposed to stay at home and cook, bear children and cater for their families. I tried to explain to him that the world was changing and that the contribution of each person despite his/her race, culture and gender was pivotal to the survival of humanity. In as much as he agreed with me, it was clear that he had some reservations.
On the other hand, both my grandparents were more open-minded. Despite the fact that they are in their 90’s, they still have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. I can remember that during our childhood years, they enjoyed telling us stories of their pasts and the origin of man and his culture.
They taught us valuable lessons on respect, trust and taking responsibility. Considering their age and outlook on life, I decided that it was prudent that I gather information on our family’s lineage for this assignment from them. The information gathered was refined by my parents and uncles who willingly gave me the information that I required.
Method of data collection
Information collected for this assignment was compiled from interviews I conducted. My grandmothers from both sides were interviewed, two of my uncles and both my parents also helped in gathering the information. My grand mothers were interviewed at their homes during a visit. My parents and their selected siblings provided me with the information via e-mail.
These participants were the most appropriate since they could explain my family tree more vividly and accurately. However, there were some limitations during the data collection process. Firstly, my grandmothers could not explain their lineage clearly. Some of the facts were forgotten and some were not clearly explained.
This is attributed to their age and the fact that their generation was not educated so there were no clear records to back their facts. Secondly, my parents and uncles were very secretive about their childhood and their family lineage. They only managed to send me the basics. In addition, they took too much time to respond to the e-mails that I had sent.
This paper has given a historical account of my family lineage. The history of my family has been outlined and the method used to gather information regarding this assignment given. The challenges faced during data collection have also been identified.