Over A Sea Of Change
From the time of birth, humans are picking up on and learning the ways of our surroundings. Whether it be the bad things, like hearing people curse and then running around as a three year old and screaming curse words at the top of your lungs, or watching your granddad kneel and pray before bed every night and you doing the same without knowing how to pray or even what prayer is. Kids grasp hold to every little motion made and educate themselves by observing that. Although every country and culture has different customs and traditions, all babies learn them the same way. For example, growing up and learning in the U.S. would be greatly different than doing so in Russia. Experiences, daily life, families, religions, and even the foods would be different. That could change the way a person feels, acts, and even lives their life dramatically. These changes and “ways” of people are the things that make every culture unique. Just take for example if I were to have grown up in Russia as the son of a poor machinist. I would be much different than I am today. I would have different religion, different everyday activities, and even feel differently about the people around me.
The first thing that would have changed would be my basic growing up and family life. Russian families, unlike U.S. families, are very large and consist of several generations that live together under the same roof. In the U.S. this is quite rare for these days, and most of the time be seen in the South if it was. Growing up with more of these influences around would make you a better-rounded individual. Most of your westerners come from a family life that consists of you, your mom, your dad, and maybe a sibling. Almost your entire first couple of years, you learn their ways and develop the same characteristics they use, instead of seeing and hearing more than a couple of people and learning how to cope with the intense, but often well worth, situation of an overloaded house. Just take for instance the situation that comes up with a child’s temper. In America, if a two children get into an argument over some blocks in the nursery floor, most of the time one of the children will end up biting, hitting, slapping, etc… the other kid until they get into trouble or the other kid gives up. This is an example of nurturing that happens when you have just two parents that surround you all the time. Seeing them get and give you everything you want is a false situation that isn’t always going to be there. Instead, take the kids of Russia. Growing up with 10 people living in the same apartment from the time you are born until the time you maybe become well off enough to move out, would have taught you to be less greedy and understand the definition of sharing and it would stick with you a lot better. The simple fact of spending the majority of your younger life with more people would also help you out when language became a big to do in growing up. Hearing and learning from 10 head on how to say certain words would be a vast help to the standard 2 people in America.
Growing up with the free will to do as you please about certain things in life is a great liberty of living in the United States. You are encouraged to attend different religious services and find the one that best fits you and the way you believe. Even if you don’t believe in God, there are still certain churches and services you can attend without having to profess your faith in any one thing here in America. Over in Russia on the other hand, for the past century the Russian Orthodox Church has been the chief rule and was once the only church allowed in while the country was under a communistic government. Over 75% of the citizens in Russia consider themselves members today, and the church is steadily growing. Growing up with a society that believes only in one church and its powers, gives you a right direction to head even if you feel that another is the true way. Peer pressure, family values, and even the government intervention can all cause you to go in a different direction than what you truly feel that God is leading you. If your entire family goes to a particular location to worship on any given day and you are dragged along with them because they feel it is the best way for you to live you life, you are probably going to end up continuing that tradition, even though you could opt out and begin attending other religious services. That’s the same everywhere, just in Russia it is harder to overcome the fact that you have been in the Russian Orthodox Church for 18 years and then you decide to move and start attending Muslim services. Mostly because you see your whole family getting ready in a small room in your house and going to church while you are not and having the feeling that you are letting them down.
Another big change would have to be the differences daily life and education you get between Russia and the U.S. In the U.S., all primary education is free. You can attend public schools from the time you are 4 years old, all the way until the time you are 18 and graduate from high school. When you get out of high school you have the decision on whether to go to college, technical school, trade school, or work. With the exception of a few grants and scholarships, any secondary education you attend in America is costly. Most average tuition for a university in America is between thirty and forty thousand dollars. That is some serious money for a four-year degree, and also is a large amount for your average college kid to overcome when school loan payments show up at the door. On the other hand, primary and secondary educations in Russia are free. To get into a college over there, all one would have to do is simply pass the entrance exams and begin classes. This would make for an easy, but also very difficult attempt to get into the college, as the entrance tests are very hard, and also make them not mean as much to an individual that is not paying out his/her own money.
In conclusion, there are obvious differences between growing up in Russia and in the United States. If I had grown up in Russia I would probably be married by now, being that I wouldn’t have to worry about where we would live or what I would do. I could easily be started and on my way through my second year of college at the cost of the taxpayers. My temper and anger levels would be so high that you would rarely see them, unlike most American’s, Russian’s tempers seem to have a greater leniency with everything.
Evolutionary Psychology, www.epjournal.net/filestore/ep026685.pdf, Krueger and Nesse