Kindred Launches International Readership Survey, Welcomes College of William and Mary Intern

AUTHORS:
Cyrene Schweitzer
Cyrene Schweitzer, College of William and Mary Intern

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Williamsburg, VA – March 20, 2013 – Kindred welcomes College of William and Mary intern, Cyrene Schweitzer who will be working with Kindred to gather stories and insights from our international family readership on their conscious parenting experiences in their culture. Cyrene’s background is particularly significant in her desire to bridge cultural stories and insights, as she experienced first hand the transition from her Mexican roots, of tight family bonds, to a more disconnected American culture.

It is Kindred’s intention over the coming months to explore cross-cultural insights and stories with our committed international readership. Kindred’s following hails from over 130 countries, with 34 countries receiving our e-newsletter and members of our international advisory board already leading this discussion through their professional work and research.

Kindred readers will be receiving links to the survey in our e-newsletter. Please sign up for our free e-newsletter on our front page. Kindred will be publishing the results of our survey at the end of 2013.

In the short biography below, Cyrene introduces herself to Kindred readers. If you are interested in participating in this survey project, please email Cyrene at info@kindredcommunity.org

About Me

I was born in Mexico City, where I lived and learned for the first ten years of my life. I spent my time at a small international school, focused on connecting different cultures together. The free hours of my day were spent mostly with my family, or my friends’ families, when we would have ‘adventures’—we would explore hide in the events building of the apartment complex and pretend it was a castle, and try to storm it. It was a simple life; my mother stayed home as a full-time mother, while my father went to work and returned home at night to read us a nighttime story. When I moved to Florida the summer before the start of the fifth grade, I was only just starting to become immersed in the deeper nuances of the Mexican culture.

The move to the United States proved difficult for me. We moved to South Florida, a particularly difficult place to find a foothold, due to its mix of different cultures, including a mish mash of different Latin American cultures, each with their own peculiarities. It was a particularly cold atmosphere to be thrust into so unwillingly. I found that the relationships my classmates had with their parents and extended family very different. While the bond between parents and children was strong and apparent, it was a little more callous. Children treated parents with something more akin to equality than respect, speaking to their parents or their friends’ parents more brusquely and differently, when I have had a more reverent experience.

As I grew up and moved on to high school I noticed more and more the independence my friends had. American families tend to give more importance to their professions, often measuring their success in terms of efficiency and money, focusing on a practical application of knowledge gleaned from a standardized education system. In Mexico, professional careers come second. Kids stay home with their families for longer periods of time, often working for the family business. Formal education is sometimes an afterthought, though the ancestral cultural education of a hybrid indigenous/ European culture is passed down from fathers to sons and women to daughters.

I am a child of two worlds—I spent my formative years in Mexico, a country richly endowed in culture, tradition and religion (namely Roman Catholicism, which is as much a part of the social and spiritual fabric as other aspects), and I thus have a closer affinity for more Latin based, or European social systems, with a more relaxed attitude towards work and leisure. However I have also grown up and matured into a woman in the United States, more independent than I perhaps would have been in Mexico, at least ideologically. While the United States is more of a melting pot of different ethnicities that retain more customs, it offers more opportunity to develop your mind differently, independent of your family, and not is afraid of setting off down your own path. The difficulty of feeling of belonging to two worlds is precisely that. Balancing culture and efficiency, is a little difficult, but I had the good fortune of coming from a unique Mexican family, where my grandfather, (the Patriarch of the Romero “clan”, my Mexican heritage line) loved learning and understanding. He encouraged his daughters to go beyond traditional learning. He taught my mother, her sisters, and me, to look beyond tradition and as well as a fascination for understanding and recognizing that no two humans are the same, and that each culture, even within families is a unique one.

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