When I look back to my childhood the way I was brought definitely affected and made into the person I am today. I was born in Congo, African and moved to Pretoria, South Africa when I was six. Growing up in Pretoria was an amazing life experience; I wouldn’t change anything about it. My parents have always had a great influence and impact in my life, my dad has always been the provider and protector while my mom was a stayed at home mother.
I loved coming back home every day from school seeing my mom, having a nice warm cooked meal ready for me, and my mom helped me with my home worked. Growing up I didn’t get to see much of my dad because he was always working, which made my relationship with mom very strong, to this day I am very close with my mom, cannot go a whole day without talking to her, I love my mom dearly. The two systems structures from Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory of Human Development that I most identify with is the Microsystem and the Macrosystem.
The microsystem refers to the activities and relationships with significant others experienced by a developing person in a particular small setting such as family, school, peer group, or community (Berns, 2013). In microsystem family is the setting that provides nurturance, affection, and variety of opportunities, my parents were fortunate enough to provide me with all that, at early age my parents taught me that family is very important because family is always going to be there for you no matter what. School is the setting in which children formally learn about their society (Berns, 2013).
Starting elementary school in South Africa and attending high school and now college in America is very different. Schools in South Africa are very cultured, I didn’t know what homosexuality was till I moved to America, and I was shocked to see it so openly expressed at school. Peer groups is the setting in which children are generally unsupervised by adults, there by gaining experience independence (Berns, 2013). School and peer group was connected growing up, I only saw and played with my friends at school, I never got to see them outside of school.
The Community, or neighborhood on smaller a scale, is the main setting in which children learn by doing (Berns, 2013). Neighbors were like family, looked out after each other, parents trusted leaving their children with the neighbors, we were a small closed knit community. The macrosystems consists of the society and subculture to which the developing person belongs, with particular reference to the belief systems, lifestyles, patterns of social interaction, and life changes (Berns, 2013).
Growing up in Pretoria, going to school learning the South African culture and at home my parents teaching me our native culture and belief , at times it was hard trying to balance the two. I grew up speaking French and Lingala native Congolese languages; when we moved to South Africa going to school I learned English and began to primarily speak English where today I can barely speak my Lingala my native language. I’ve grown up middle-class; my parents have always done whatever they can to provide for my siblings and me.
It is an African culture for parents to take care and provide for their children until they can care and provide for themselves, I am twenty-two years old and still fully depend on my parents. At times I wish my parents taught me to be more independent, when I first moved to Denton the first few weeks were really hard on me, I felt so lost called my mom at least twenty times a day. I am slowly but surely settling in and getting used to being on my own.
In the macrosystems Ethnicity refers to an ascribed attribute of membership in group in which members identify themselves by national origin, culture, race, or religion (Berns, 2013). I identify my ethnicity as African, when I moved to Texas I started eight grade, I remember before school start I was standing around with some of my African friends and some Black American girls came up and started talking to us and they noticed we had accents and one of the black girls looked at me and said “I didn’t know you were African, you look like one of us” I was so confused I didn’t understand what she meant by it.
After that for a long time when someone would ask me where I was from I would hesitate replying that I was African I felt ashamed, now I just get offended we someone says that he/she is surprised that I am African because “I don’t look one” I don’t understand how an African supposed to look like. I am African and proud of it. In macrosystems culture refers to the acquired, or learned behavior, including knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, law, customs, and traditions (Berns, 2013).
My parents are very religious, I grew up in a Christian household went to church every Wednesdays and Sundays sing in the choir, very involved with the church. Now I am not very involved with the church as I was and since I have moved out of my parents’ house I don’t go to church every Sunday (which my parents are not happy about). I am still a Christian and believe in God, pray every day I slowly having my own beliefs. I don’t believe going to church every Sunday’s makes you Christian, I believe the relationship you have with the Heavenly Father that is important.
My parents have had a huge influence in my life, taught me that education is very important in life, to be successful in life I have to have an education. They are my motivation and push me to be successful. The way I was brought up has also influenced me and made into the person I am today. Growing up in Pretoria, South Africa was great experience and I am lucky that I got to experience it and now living my life here in Texas even though it was tough at first, after ten years I can call Texas home. The love and support I get from my parents is unbelievable, I am thankful and blessed to have such amazing parents.
Berns, M. R. Child, Family, School, Community Socialization and Support. Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 2013