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There are habits that we acquire during our lives, either because we were taught them at home or during our daily life. In my childhood life at school and as a teenager in high school I was always criticized by my classmates because they didn’t understand my customs.
My parents were Europeans who migrated to this country where I have lived all my life. Here they, my parents, taught us their customs, that is, the customs of the country where they came from. And this clashed with the customs of a Latin-American country.
But that is how my 5 siblings and I got used to live. One of the most ingrained customs in me is not to visit our neighbors; According to my parents' customs we should not go to visit our neighbors unless they were sick to offer help. Another custom was to not allow people to give us gifts such as clothes, shoes, jewelry and others.
If any of us came to our house with an object that my parents had not bought, they would notice when they saw that we used it and then my father would go to the house of the person who gave the gift and ask if it was indeed a gift and why they do it. God forbid if someone said it was because we asked for it… First my father would return the gift with apologies and thanks and then the worst came for us at home.
If there was one thing my parents said a resounding no to, it was the habit of asking. You were never to ask either at home or outside the house, so at home there were rules for everything. When it was time to eat my mother gave us food in sufficient and equal amounts for all of us, except for my father because he was the head of the house and the only one to go out to work and then if my mother saw that we wanted more she would ask us if we wanted a little more and she would give us equal amounts again.
What was left over food and what was kept in the fridge could never be a reason for anyone to inquire. Let me explain, if there was a piece of cake left and we had all eaten our own portion no one, no one, was to ask whose cake it was or ask for it, we all had to wait for our mother to find the ideal moment to share it and she would call all of us so that everyone could enjoy their portion.
We were not a wealthy family, we grew up as a poor family that had enough to eat thanks to my father's work on the street and my mother's work as an independent merchant from our home. My mother made clothes for all of us, both girls and boys, and so we girls dressed the same and the boys too.
We were never allowed to have friends even at school. If someone came home and said that any had a conversation with a classmate then they had to face punishment.
Those were times with a lot of emotional pressure. I grew up with a lot of fear of authority instead of respect. It was only when I left high school and entered a professional education institute that I had to change many of my habits. I had to talk to many people alone or in groups, I had to share in groups to work on my career, I had to visit classmates for group assignments and these were the most difficult years of my life. Every day there were arguments with my father and he could no longer punish me as he wanted. I was a young girl of 17 years old and I did not allow beatings anymore.
Then the relationship between my father and me became quarrel to quarrel. He could no longer impose his punishments on me and I claimed my rights more and more strongly. He lost, he could no longer impose himself and I increasingly implemented justice and the rights of each one of us. I went ahead with the most ingrained customs in my mind but always fighting to keep my ideals, to be fair and to help those who needed me.
He never managed to understand why I was like that, why I did not accept his impositions without replying as my mother did. Thus I was an example for the two younger siblings who no longer had the oppression of an abusive home but a family of opinions, but I myself was left with many mixed feelings.
Habits are hard to get rid of in the subconscious. Many things I learned to change but many others remained in me. Even today, after so many years of physical and mental changes, remnants of those strange teachings persist in my mind in a country different from that of my parents, but that with time I molded to my comforts.
But the values that my parents taught me and I am proud of I have transmitted to my family from generation to generation. Today my son has these same values that I was taught and he’s now going through the same thing that I went through in my youth, with his college classmates. It seems strange to them that in this day and age someone would be like that.
People have a hard time asking permission, saying thank you, helping the elderly, giving a seat on the bus to an elderly person in need, and so on. I don't know if it is because of comfort, tiredness, or for whatever reason it is that we allow our young people to not learn from what we were taught.
My most ingrained customs are still strange to others but in a way I adopted the ones I wanted to keep with me and left out the ones I didn't like.
Today I have many friends, I visit my neighbors if only to say hello but I am still haunted too closely by the idea of being alone with myself for very long periods of time, reading and learning new things every day is what motivates me the most.
That's why I'm here sharing, learning and writing.
Thank you very much for reading my articles. They are my life experiences and I want to share them with whoever wants to share them with me.