My family, although not perfect, has been the best thing I have ever experienced in my life. It is said that self-esteem, as well as identity, is formed in the human being from a very early age on and due to the lack of it, problems are found in adolescence. In my case, I lived a happy childhood but full of insecurities. I think this was the reason I didn’t live to the fullest until I became an adult. I want to share with you a personal reflection, and how these experiences have helped me to assume my role as wife, mother, and today as an unconditional grandmother.
Three things marked me for life: 1) the iron discipline of my mother’s house, 2) my father’s empathy in the face of my rebelliousness and indiscipline at school, and 3) the deep and unconditional affection I received from my paternal grandmother. I believe that I would not be myself if I had missed any of these three things since my personal and professional life has been what they are because of these childhood experiences.
With the serenity that the passage of time gives me, I can accept that this discipline was so positive, that I could assume the responsibilities independently as soon I left home. As the oldest of six siblings, in a working family, I had to assume responsibility for raising my siblings until I decided to leave home at the age of fifteen.
Despite sincere attempts to use fewer rigid methods in the education of my three children, I had to draw on my own experience at many times when I felt it was necessary. If I had not taken immediate and decisive action, I would not have prevented one of my three adorable children from going to waste.
On the other hand, my father’s reaction to my acts of indiscipline and rebellion at school helped me to look with some complicity at my children’s (and even my students’) own resistance and to know how to handle situations. I don’t think I would have been so successful as an educator if I didn’t know what it felt like to be on the other side. Affection is essential to each of the roles I have assumed during my youth and adulthood. Every time it has been necessary to make life decisions love has grown and I have always wanted the best for my husband and each one of mine. It is good that affection is the bearer of the message that I have always wanted to convey, only in this way I believe that it reaches the heart of those who love and achieve lasting effects that accompany us all in our lives.
When we understand that, although life together is difficult, with the close and loving help of the family we are able to build an identity of our own, which we feel is almost exclusive. I have been able to experience this above all in moments full of difficulty, and it has helped me to understand, whenever it has been necessary to enlighten those whom I love, so that they can find the light on their own. Being a husband and father is unfortunately not learned explicitly but implicitly. There are things that we observe and assimilate according to our experiences.
I was lucky enough to find in my husband an exceptional person who loves me unconditionally, with whom I was able to build a family based on respect and affection. I think he manifests two characteristics that I loved in my grandmother, and that makes me entirely happy. His spirituality and his ability to directly and openly demonstrate affection. Although we come from two very different cultures within (Guajira and Santander). (A department of states in the Country of Colombia S.A.*Translators note) He has been a person who has not been afraid to show his feelings, something I’ve learned to live with and through which I have discovered who I really am. It is in this family where we keep growing, where we had 3 children together of whom we feel proud, where I have had great moments, and where we have kept together in good and bad times.
In many books and quotations, we find messages that tell us that the Family is a central axis, that it is essential and that we must take care of it and promote it. In my experience that has happened in my maternal family. The family that we have formed with my husband is where my identity has been formed. They are the sustenance of the self-esteem that helps us make sense of our lives. These experiences give us strong reasons not to underestimate what can suddenly change things in an instant during our day by day lives.
Discipline, empathy, and affection are fundamental to sustain the lives of happy families. Despite all the difficulties, this is the recipe that served me, and I wanted to share its tremendous benefit with you.
Nohora Barbosa Acosta is an Educator from Colombia, South America. She has been active for more than thirty years contributing her experience of educational Information and Communication Technologies to her students. She has taught at the Secondary level as much as in Universities. Nohora has been working in the public and private sectors designing and implementing information systems and process automation. She is the mother of three children, currently residing in Colombia, Germany, Spain and Chile.