By Reina Ackerberg
Before writing this post, I took a moment to reflect on the norms and ideas I have learned throughout life from my own experiences and those I have been taught by my parents and siblings. Growing up in a family where a religion wasn’t practiced, I was invited to choose how I wanted to view religion. Whether it be that I wanted to study christianity or judaism, or spirituality, or simply no religion at all, was my choice. In turn I had role models that did choose to practice religious activities, but throughout my life their standpoints on those practices have remained the same, making it difficult to connect with Ali and Parvez’s experiences.
Ali, Parvez and I do not share many similarities. We share different ethnic backgrounds, different genders, and different experiences, however there is one similarity between Ali and I that I feel is important to address. And that is learning and using cultural norms from our parents and those around us and making them our own. Ali grew up practicing certain Pakistani values with his father, however after moving to England his father lost many of those practices and replaced them with other hobbies that were all seen as forbidden considering the religion they grew up with. Ali noticed that after moving away from home in Pakistan, his father stopped praying and practicing Islam, paying little to no respect to the practices of their roots back home. The change in practices and values leaves Ali confused and irritated with his father, as prior to moving he had upheld their religion differently. Ali grew up being taught the importance of religion, and is left feeling lost and angry when his views no longer correlate with those of his fathers.
As humans, one of the beautiful things about us is how we grow and mature with age, and with that comes different opinions and values. While Ali felt that the rules and expectations he had grown up with should be held with utmost respect, his father had different feelings. The move to England prompted a larger cultural change for Parvez, while Ali still kept his same practices. His father chose to put more time and energy into things he felt were more important, however that doesn’t change how he once felt about his past opinions. The lessons and norms we learn from our parents are important in our upbringing, however what we do with those lessons later in life is up to us, and doesn’t always need to correlate with those around us.