Common Health Traditions Based on Cultural Heritage
The assessment of heritage characteristics of three families revealed some common traits and also differences. It seems appropriate to analyze each family in detail.
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The Latin family consists of the mother from Cuba, the father from Mexico, and their son. This nuclear family supports contacts with relatives, namely with aunts and uncles, yet they do not live in the same area that creates some difficulties in communication. The respondent pointed that he has his own family – spouse and one child – that are of the same ethnic background and religion – Catholicism. Both the school and neighborhood of the respondent were of the same ethnicity.
The respondent identifies himself as an active member of the religion institution and visits it weekly. Several facts show that there are strong family ties. For example, the family initiates common ethnic activities, prepares corresponding food, and practice the same religion at home. It should also be emphasized that the native language is used as the preferred one that emphasizes adherence to the cultural heritage. Thus, this family can be described as the one that is aware of the importance of common health traditions and, thus focuses on their ethnic and religious background in an attempt to maintain it and convey to the next generations.
The African family is presented by two adults and three children, each of which is of the same ethnicity and religion. The original name of the respondent was not changed that indicates loyalty to the family values. The interviewee visits his relatives, living outside the United States approximately once in a month that is important to maintain close relationships and support each other. Moreover, this family actively participates in religious events, including singing, dancing, holiday celebration, costumes, etc.
The respondent states that there are friends of the same ethnicity as well those of others that shows diversity awareness. The native language of Swahili is selected as the preferred one to speak and read. In general, this African family seems to follow the cultural heritage peculiarities, understanding that they promote family health traditions.
The third interviewed respondent is from China, he has parents of the Chinese origin and one brother. The assessment revealed strong and close contacts with all members of the family and also with relatives even though cousins, uncles, and aunts do not live in the neighborhood. It should be noted that relatives, living outside the country, are visited approximately once a year. Considering economic, personal, and other factors that may affect visits to China, the mentioned period is likely to weaken the family ties.
Nonetheless, the interviewee’s spouse is of the same religion and ethnic background that shows the desire to preserve the original culture. As for the ethnic and religious activities, the celebration of holidays and praying at home may be considered as efforts to maintain the family heritage. The fact that the respondent does not speak his own language of Standard Mandarin, however, may lead to the decline in communication and, as a result, to oblivion of some cultural aspects associated with language.
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Health Maintenance, Protection, and Restoration
The analysis of three families with different ethnicity and religion shows that all of them tend to preserve their cultural heritage by following activities and interacting with relatives. In this connection, it seems appropriate to provide general assumptions regarding their health maintenance, protection, and restoration. Taking into account that cultural heritage may be attributed more to the emotion and psychological well-being rather than physical health, it is necessary to focus on the former.
The mentioned families can be identified as traditional ones. They visit religious institutions, share dinners, celebrate holidays, and sing songs. All these original traditions give their effects, such as love and respect for each other as well as emotional health maintenance, including moral and spiritual customs and values created by and ancestors (Edelman, Kudzma, & Mandle, 2014). The family, being the heiress and guardian of cultural traditions, brings up children by its way of life, understanding the need not only to store, but also to develop and raise to a new level what based on the traditions received from the previous generations.
Since the ancient times, the traditional family way helped children to learn life in its different manifestations and taught to be included in life. Family and heritage are two concepts that cannot exist without each other as family values lose their significance if there is no family (Ray, 2016). In addition, the family cannot exist without the fundamental principles that preserve its integrity and spiritual health.
With the changing and developing society and views, family values acquire modern aspects, yet they cannot be conditionally divided into the values of parents and children. These two groups have much in common, but the one that relates to children has a more rigid and progressive character. For example, they start speaking another language, forgetting their native one as it were in case of the Chinese family. This happens naturally because each successive generation tries to take only the most necessary from the previous one and introduces its own family values that are relevant at the moment.
The family, according to Duncan and Goddard (2017), is one of the greatest values created by mankind in the history of its existence. In the family psychology, the following basic values are distinguished: values related to the self-affirmation of the individual among the closest associates and satisfaction of the need for paternity and maternity along with love and recognition (Duncan & Goddard, 2017). Values that satisfy physiological needs such as sexual and intimate relations of spouses, relative stability and security, and also values that make it possible to meet pragmatic needs are to be facilitated and promoted within the family.
Awareness of values generates value representations that, in their turn, create value orientations and constitute an appreciable part of the system of personal senses. The task of teaching young men and women for family relations means to help them to realize these values, forming a personal motivation for family behavior. It is important to promote the values of marriage, family, and children by organizing social and psychological family counseling (Darling & Cassidy, 2014).
To raise the level of health, the interest in the family values among young people should make a noticeable effect on the socio-demographic development of society and a particular culture. Thus, for the further development of the modern family as a beneficial social institution, ensuring its stability and well-being, it is necessary to systematically and purposefully influence the value content of the concept of the family among wide populations, and thereby form a common readiness for a healthy family life.
Darling, C. A., & Cassidy, D. (2014). Family life education: Working with families across the lifespan (3rd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
Duncan, S. F., & Goddard, H. W. (2017). Family life education: Principles and practices for effective outreach (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Sage Publications.
Edelman, C., Kudzma, E. C., & Mandle, C. L. (2014). Health promotion throughout the life span. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Ray, M. A. (2016). Transcultural caring dynamics in nursing and health care (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.