By Aaron Logan
Culture is a powerful force that shapes our lives. Culture is who we are on the inside. Culture gives us roots (York, S. 2003, Root and Wings). According to Nitza Hidalgo, there are three levels of cultural awareness. These levels consist of a Concrete level which relates to the visible and tangible elements of our culture. Followed by the Behavioral level which relates to social roles of our culture. The final level is the Symbolic level which relates to our values and beliefs within our culture. I will speak briefly on two of these levels of culture and how they relate personally to the culture in which I have grown to know.
The first level I wish to speak to is the Concrete level which contains visible and tangible things in the culture of which I live. Family is MOST important to me and most of the concrete things within my culture center around family. When I think of food, the first thing that comes to mind is Bar-b-que. What brings families together better than a good old fashion cookout. The smell of steaks, chicken, burgers and hot dogs fill the air as family gathers for food, fun and relaxation. Bar-b-ques have been a part of my families culture since I can remember and will continue for years to come. Music a big part of our culture and any culture for that matter. Music has always been a big part of my life. I enjoy different types of music but good old fashion rock and roll is my go to. I grew up in the 70's and 80's when big hair bands were popular. Going to concerts with friends, blaring the stereo when a favorite song comes on or just relaxing on the couch watching videos on MTV. Clothes and fashion have always been a big part of our culture. What we wear can sometimes define us as a person. I have always tried to stay up on the latest styles so I could fit in. As I got older, I still try and stay current but have developed my own style and what I feel comfortable in. Its not so much about fitting in now as it is individuality. Holidays and celebrations are also part of culture. Being big on family, I find myself enjoying the holidays that bring family together the most. These holidays consist of Christmas, Thanksgiving and Independence Day. As we grow older and begin to mature, these holidays become less about gifts, shooting off fireworks, eating lots of food and more about the people around you. Finally, I remember growing up getting to experience different kinds of entertainment as a family. Even though we entertained ourselves most of the time, being treated to a movie, attending a sporting event or going on a family vacation was always full of great memories. These are all experience that to this day I continue to experience with my own family. There are many more concrete things within our society related to culture but the ones I have just shared are the most meaningful to me.
Behavioral- Social Roles
The second level I would like to speak to is the Behavioral level which consists of the social roles of our culture. The first would be communication. The English language our form of communication within our societies culture. We learn to speak it at a very early age and as we become older, we become more fluent and communication becomes much easier. Many people within our culture learn to speak other languages for fun or because of a profession of places they visit frequently. Personally, English is the only language I am accustom to and speak fluently. Keeping the theme of communication, brings me to another form known as non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication is everywhere. Its written on our faces, body language, and signs we see on roadways, billboards and structures. Non-verbal communication is also a very effective way of communicating and is probably the most used form because it comes in so many forms that we might not even be aware of. Religion is a big part of our societies culture and comes in many forms. I personally grew up Methodist and attended a Methodist during my entire childhood. I was involved in a youth group at my church and was even nominated for youth council president. I attended church with my family but made many friends and new acquaintances throughout the years. I do not attend church now as much as I would like, but would like to start attending more as now I have kids of my own that need this exposure. I would briefly like to talk about morals among our society. Some people have them, some people don't and some truly need them. Morals to me personally are simple. Life gives you choices when it comes to moral deli-mas. You can do whats right or do whats wrong, I believe in doing what is right, regardless influences, what others think, do or say. I am in control of my own actions and my own beliefs and nobody will ever change that. Finally, family structure. I grew up in a house of five, two parents, two brothers and myself. While we always had issues among us, we always seemed to get though it all and remain a family. While its always been important to me, to remain a family, sometimes things don"t happen as we would like and divorce is inevitable. I am currently a single dad of two children Madison and Aiden. Single parenting is not easy but I would not trade it for anything. Its important that even through diversity, we remain strong and a constant in our children's lives. This shows them that when things change for the better or even the worse that life goes on and only gets better.
In conclusion, our society contains a lot of different cultures and its important to not only understand our own but to also make efforts to learn of others cultures. The more we know about our own cultures the more we can teach others and learn from others in this ever changing world.