I was born into a loving and caring family, in a beautiful county called Guyana, located in South America. Guyana is also known as ‘A Land of Many Waters’. I love my country, its divided into four geographical regions. The Interior Savannahs with its luscious green grasslands, shrubs and low trees. Next, is the Hilly Sand and clay region which is know for bauxite reserves and covered in vegetation. The Highland region is very mountainous and lastly the Low Coastal Plain which is appropriately two (2) meters below sea level. It’s home to most of the county’s population and that includes me.
Hello, I’m Karen Glennis Ann Forde-Thomas, born to Guyanese parents. I’m a married woman, with two kids; a boy and girl. I have nine siblings (four brothers and 5 sisters), I’m ranked eighth in my nuclear family. Growing up with many siblings was fun and meant that chores were shared. My hobbies are reading, playing indoor games and cooking. I’m my own individual and I consider myself as a hardworking and responsible person and I love spending time with my family.
Reflecting upon my family collage, there are three (3) important aspects that play a very major part of my life to date. They are as follows in this order Spiritual/religion, Family and Education. In the context of this essay I’ll compare these aspects from my childhood days to my Adulthood and how I am bring up my own children. Starting off with my spirituality. In my family spirituality and religion were very secret to them. Due to this sacredness, the topic was preached to and taught from generation to generation. As a child my siblings and I went to church with my mom. My dad did attend but not always due to his out of town job. We had devotion as a family and study the bible as best we could. It was expected of us to take part in church activities. Religion was part of our community also.
I remembered as a child, my grandmother taking us every Sunday to a village close by where she conducted Community Sunday School. After Sunday school we would share flyers and invite parents and kids to the next weeks’ service. I’ve enjoyed that because I got to meet new people and make friends. Some of the people I have met are still to this day very close friends of mine. My religious upbringing as a child has helped me to become the person I am today and for that I am very grateful.
As an adult I have leaned more to the spiritual side to my number one aspect. Spirituality to me is a course of personal transformation either in religious ideas or experiences. Spirituality is a realm of awareness where values like truth, beauty, love, compassion goodness and being focus are vital to live a meaningful life. My spirituality is a powerful and important source of my strength. As a parent I’m teaching my kids the ways of my family’s religion which I hope they’ll pass on to their generation.
Family is very important and valuable to me and is something that I would never take for granted. Without my family, a large part of my life and culture would be missing. I cannot imagine living without them. The most important thing I was taught by my family; is that a family is made up of people who I can trust and who I can count on. My family has taught me the importance of education, knowledge, hard work and effort. All of which have contributed to the person I am today.
As a kid family meant enjoying ourselves, having fun, keeping fit and healthy. My social and moral etiquettes which I have learnt as a child were from my family environment. Family rules (spoken and unspoken) were maintained also discipline was for all whether young or old was expected. As a family we did not go on vocation aboard because of my parent’s financial situation at the time, however we would pack up as a family and go to my grandparents’ house. This was a vocation for us since (because it was far away from home) up the river. Sometimes we would go to another relative’s house or they would come to ours.
As a family tradition each Christmas day is spent at a different family member home. I most remember one Christmas when my family and other relatives spent that Christmas day at my uncle’s farm. Some of them I knew, the others we were introduced to and quickly form bonds. It was fun, fun and more fun for us kids. We climbed fruit trees, play outdoor games and even got to ride the pony. Over dinner there were lots of stories about our generation while bonding and enjoying family time.
Now that I have migrated, and have my own family, we do go on vacations. Last year we vacationed in my home country and I took the kids to visit relatives and friends just like my parents use to take my siblings and I. Family rules, values and culture are dear to me and as such these I pass on to my kids. Living in a foreign country where families are not close knitted seems awkward to me. It was a culture shock to me when I migrated to the U.S.A and observed such indiscipline by both adults and children. In my country and neighborhood children could not call adults full name, it was unheard of; children had to put a title in front of the name example aunty, uncle, Mr. or Mrs. Even though most of my relatives are in Guyana I correspond with them as often as I can to maintain our family bond and also that my kids will remember them. I will not trade my family for any other.
Lastly, education is important to me because it gives me knowledge and skills I needed to function in society. My parents were only afforded a high school education, however, they ensured that my siblings and I went on to university. I consider my intellectual self, interesting because I am right brained and as such I tend to use my creativity more than my mathematical skills. This makes me a visual learner. It is my opinion that having a good education gains respect from the society. Living a happy and prosperous life requires one to study and obtain a great job to be successful in life. It helps in earning money and fulfilling my family’s basic needs.
Regardless of cast, creed or gender, by having a good education people can stand out as equal with all the other persons from different caste and creed. For me its a platform to prove that I am equal by defeating all barriers. Growing up education was foremost in my mind, because I saw how hard it was for my parents who only had a high school education. They were looked down on by society and it was very difficult on them financially.
I vowed that I will study hard and gain a good education to make my parents proud and to get a good job. At present I am still studying, and hopes gain a Masters’ in Special Education within the next two years. I am happy I have a good education because I am now able to help my kids with their assignments; without being overwhelm because I do not know or understand what they are doing.
In closing I always tell people, cherish your family (both nuclear and extended), for I do cherish mine. Why? Because money cannot buy family and when all else fails, its your family that will support and comfort you in whatever you are going through. I LOVE my family!