How did your family identify racially?
My family identifies as white/caucasian. We identify as Americans, however our ancestors come from Ireland, Germany, England and the Netherlands.
Where did you live?
I grew up in the suburbs of Shawnee, Kansas. Shawnee is in Johnson County, the wealthiest county in Kansas. We have lived in the same house since I was 5 years old. My parents both grew up in a small town in southeast Kansas called Yates Center. We visit there often, especially our family ranch.
How would you describe your family's economic status?
My family is part of the middle socioeconomic class. Growing up, I never had to worry about money being scarce, or bills not being paid. My parents were blessed with good, steady jobs and they were always able to provide for my sister and I.
Were you the first in your family to attend college?
I was not the first in my family to attend college. My sister graduated from K-State, and is currently studying at the University of Florida and working towards her Doctorate. My parents both graduated from K-State. My paternal grandfather went to K-State and TCU for their ranch management program, but did not graduate with an official degree. My other three grandparents did not attend a college.
What family folklore or stories did you regularly hear growing up?
Growing up, my parents told us the classic stories. These included the boy who cried wolf, and stories about the boogey man - both of which gave me nightmares! They also told us a short story to make us laugh whenever we saw a round barn about a little boy who had to relieve himself, but couldn't find a corner to do so because he was in a round barn. They also told us fairy tale stories about princesses and princes, as well as Christmas stories like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.
What are some of your family traditions - holidays, food, or rituals?
Our family didn't have a ton of traditions or rituals. The ones I can think of start with whenever we went to my maternal grandparents for a holiday dinner, my papa always said grace before we ate. Another example of a tradition we had would be our family gift exchange at the ranch Christmas. Instead of purchasing gifts for everyone in the family, we did mens and women's gift exchanges.
What metaphors, analogies, parables, or "witty" sayings do you remember hearing from parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles?
- "You can't fix stupid."
- "To each their own"
- "All's well that ends well"
What family stories are regularly told or referenced? What message do they communicate abut core values?
In our family, we don't really reference old family stories. For the most part, we reference stories out of the bible. These mostly communicate our christian-based values and morals.
What did your parents, neighbors, and other authority figures tell you respect and disrespect looked like?
Growing up, I was taught that respect meant not questioning authority figures, treating others in a caring manner, and honoring your elders. We were taught that disrespect meant the opposite. It meant talking back, being sassy and rude, and disregarding your elders' wants and needs.
How were you trained to respond to different emotional displays - crying, anger and happiness?
I was taught to respond to crying in a caring manner. I was told that crying and being sad was bad, and being happy was good. When I see someone crying, I want to hug them, use physical touch to comfort them and make them feel loved and safe. I want to talk to them, to understand why they are feeling sad. I respond to anger by being scared. I was not often aloud to express my anger towards my parents or other people, as that would be a "mean" thing to do. I respond to happiness with happiness. I love being happy, and I love when other people are happy. When other people are anything but happy, I was shown by my parents how to empathize with them.
What physical, social, or cultural attributes were praised in your community? Which ones were you taught to avoid?
Growing up, being physically healthy and fit was definitely praised in my community. Everyone wanted to be healthy and fit and love their body. Social attributes that were praised were being relatable, kind, nonjudgmental, and honest. Cultural attributes that were praised in my community included going to church and school. I was taught to avoid being physically out of shape, fat or unhealthy. I was also taught to avoid being socially awkward. Lastly, I was taught that skipping church was bad, and skipping school would lead to a tough future, and possibly without college and a career.
How were you expected to interact with authority figures? Was the authority of teachers and other elders assumed or did it have to be earned?
I was expected to treat authority figures with respect. I could not speak to them like I spoke to my friends. I was expected to obey them. The authority of teachers and elders was always assumed by me. They were bigger than me, older than me, and they've been living longer than me so they must know more than me.
As a child, did you all adults by their first name?
I called adults as I was introduced to them. A lot of them, I called by their first name. My teachers I called by their last name. For the most part, though I called them by their first name.
What got you shunned or shamed in your family?
If I talked back to my parents, or was too sassy I was sent to my room. I was never really "shunned or shamed" by my family. I got in trouble sometimes. If I had gotten pregnant out of wedlock, that would have definitely gotten me shunned/shamed. That was mainly the biggest thing.
What earned you praise as a child?
Growing up, I was praised when I did good in school, made some sort of artwork, or when I did well in sports. I was praised for doing things without being asked. I was also praised for giving to others, and being a good person and a good friend.
Were you allowed to question or talk back to adults? Was it okay to call adults by their first name?
I was not allowed to talk back or question adults and authority figures. This was considered very disrespectful in my family. I was allowed to call adults by their first name, but only with their permission. Usually, they were introduced to me by their first name. Otherwise, I usually reverted to calling them by their last name.
What's your family's relationship with time?
My family has been in the same neighborhood since before it was fully built. When we moved here, there was an elementary school where the neighborhood walmart currently is. There was a corn field across the street from my subdivision. We have stayed in the same place for a long time, and watched as the area around us changed.
List those learning behaviors you believe every student should exhibit. How did you come to believe this?
I think expectations for behavior varies with every student. Each student has different capabilities when it comes to behaviors. For younger classrooms, I think a general statement that could be made would be that they need a lot of reminders. They get distracted or carried away with certain things which sometimes results in misbehavior. With older students, I expect them to act in a more mature way, and I expect them to need less reminders. Noise level in a kindergarten classroom can get out of hand easier than it could in a high school classroom. The same thing goes for the time students spend on-task. Younger students get restless sooner, whereas older students can sit and focus for longer periods of time. As for collaboration and individual work, as well as seat time and interaction, I think this varies depending upon the class. Older classrooms will be able to handle more of this, and younger classrooms often need more structure and focus on things. I think I came to believe this through experience with many different ages of kids.
What messages did you get about why other racial or ethnic groups succeeded or not?
Growing up, I didn't really get messages pertaining to racial or ethnic groups. For the most part, we got messages about being successful through our actions and choices. If we chose to do drugs, or skip school, these were the things that were frowned upon and led to failure.
What did your culture teach you about intelligence?
My culture taught me that intelligence has to be earned. Some people are gifted at earning it, and for others it is more challenging. I had to earn being called a "smart kid" at school. I did this through involvement in extra-curricular activities, and working hard to get good grades. Intelligence requires effort.
Do you believe some groups are smarter than others?
I do believe that some groups are smarter than others. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. So in every subject, some students will be smarter or better at the subject, and some students will struggle. I think a big part of intelligence includes who you surround yourself with. If you have a test tomorrow, and all your friends are going to a party tonight, you'll want to go to a party instead of studying, and if you don't you'll be distracted and wishing you were at the party. But if instead, your friends were having a study group, you'd also want to be with your friends but you'd be studying for your test. Friendships often affect us more than we realize!