WILLIAMSON – It seems the older I get, the more I find myself lost in nostalgia; reflecting on my past. Sometimes, memories come to mind that by no means would be considered a “key event.” Usually these memories are just random instances. When they occurred, they weren’t even a blip on the radar. However, looking back, these seemingly meaningless moments speak volumes about one’s culture and upbringing.
For example, I recently remembered an interaction I had in one of my college classes at Marshall. There was a class discussion about gender roles and how they had evolved throughout the years. I raised my hand and shared a tradition in my family and how gender roles play a part of that tradition.
I shared a story of bringing a date to my grandparents’ house for dinner. In my family, the tradition is for the female to prepare a plate for her significant other before serving herself. As I shared this story, I noticed another student looking at me like I was from another planet. When I explained that my mother always prepares my father’s plate before hers; the look was one of downright disgust.
“That is ridiculous,” she began. When she finished, it seemed as if my family tradition had set back the women’s rights movement a 100 years. To her, it was a sign of male dominance and a gesture of inequality. Although I could certainly see her point, to me the gesture never had a demeaning quality. The act never came from a mean spirited place. In my family, it was simply a sign of having good manners. It was a gracious gesture of simple kindness; an easy way to show someone that you cared.
While I certainly believe in equality, I also believe in helping others and following the Golden Rule. As my grandmother would say, “you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar.” Simply put, in this often cold and bitter world in which we live, there is nothing wrong with sprinkling a little sweetness when given the opportunity. To me, an equal partnership involves doing little things for each other.
When it comes to your upbringing and personal beliefs, everyone is different. These little traditions and quirks make us unique. Do I feel that the student that disagreed with my little traditions was wrong? I most certainly do not. At the end of the day it is, “just how you were raised.” What is important is that we love and respect one another. This includes respecting others traditions, culture and values.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)