Deep Culture Exploration Laura Gibbs


Growing up in the United States, my family identified ourselves as racially white, and Christians (followers of Christ).

I grew up in Kansas City, mostly in Overland Park. I lived in Oregon and California for a total of about 2 and a half years when I was very little for my dad's job, but other than that, I lived in Kansas. We lived in very suburban neighborhood during my childhood.

My family has been in America as long as I, my parents, and grandparents have known. I have grown up knowing that we are Americans, and honestly don't know exactly where we originate from.

Asking my parents and thinking about where we identified while I was growing up, we would say that I grew up in a middle-upper-class home. I never questioned if there would be food on the table, or if my schooling was going to stop at any point. Those things were a given for me.

I am not the first to attend college. Both of my parents did, and my dad graduated with an engineering degree. I will be the third Gibbs after my dad and cousin to graduate college in my family.

My dad told us goofy stories about growing up in Kansas City, and my mom told me about growing up on the farm. These are stories that haven't been around for years and years, but they are very special to hear because I love knowing more about my parents' childhoods.

My family has a tradition of going with my grandparents to a restaurant in Downtown Kansas City called Manny's and then looking at the Christmas Lights on the Plaza every year around Christmastime.

The hero that we celebrate in my home is Jesus. I grew up hearing all about how much He loves us and chose us, and so we get to celebrate the way that He wants to have a relationship with us every single day. I look up to the people who humbly follow after Christ and I want to be like them, because they desire to be like Him.

I remember always talking with my mom about "the mustard seed." This is a seed that grows by love and care from many different people. Not just one person can help someone grow always...sometimes it takes multiple. I loved this saying with my mom, and still love it because it helps me keep perspective in life and it reminds me of my purpose with people.

We talk about stories from vacations and reference them SO MUCH. This shows me that my family is all about quality time adventuring with one another. We absolutely love to hike, explore, and laugh on top of mountains or exploring caves. It's a blast.

Respect is always to be given to authority. This is something I learned from day one. Even if someone does not deserve respect, we are to treat them kindly. There is never room for unkindness or disrespect and that was that.

During emotional times in life, I was always comforted. There was sweet, sweet comfort sometimes, and sometimes it was hard love. Depending on the situation, I was told to suck it up or that it's okay to cry. I think my parents did an incredible job with this. I now know what situations are for crying to get through and what situations are meant to be sucked up and moved on from more quickly.

Referring to authority, I was always taught to treat my authorities with respect. Calling my parent's friends Mr. and Mrs. was very important. I was to use kind language, and say please and thank you to everything. I am really glad I was taught this.

I called adults Mr., Mrs., or Miss throughout my childhood. There were never really any exceptions for this that I can think of until I got older (maybe middle school age).

There was always, always praise and encouragement in my household as a child. We used kind and affirming words every single day with honestly, pretty much every situation. I think this helped shape me because now I love encouraging others and being encouraged.

I did not talk back to adults as a child. If that ever happened, I had to apologize and fix it the next time. There was no disrespect to adults in the household I grew up in.


I think that in terms of talking to adults, it is very important for students to know that they are to be respected. Each adult that they encounter should be spoken to kindly, and unlike a peer. Using Mr., Miss, or Mrs. is very important in my opinion, because it teaches children to respect their authorities.

In terms of individual work and group work, I think that the students should have a variety. The "real world" for them someday will require both, so I think that it's important for them to learn both. Individual time gives them a chance to figure things out on their own, and group work gives them time to improve social skills and collaborate with peers. Both are so important.

Intelligence is a very intriguing topic to me. I grew up learning that what we put into something is what we get out of it. I think that this means that we have to learn how to learn, as confusing as that sounds. The students have to gain intelligence, and that is something learned. They create for themselves the brain that they will have inside their heads. Yes, there are certain things that people are made to know and do better (for example: math vs. art brain), but everyone has the capacity to learn. We have to choose to do that.

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