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I am curious on how your family upbringing has affected you and your aspirations. Do you feel what Colin Powell states in his address valid?

I am looking for a real life correlation into what Colin Powell states in his address regarding the importance of having a functional family. In my personal opinion, I feel that I would be a completely different individual had I not had the strong willingness of my mother and grandmother to push me. Think back to your childhood and ponder the thought of how different you would be had the situation been different.

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    Feb 13 2013: That's hard to say. Perhaps I was born into dysfunction in order to recognize sanity when I finally found it.
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      Feb 13 2013: Thats the issue with this subject matter, the conclusions that can be made are subject to almost complete interpretation.
      Someone could argue that structure in the family unit had a positive effect into forming structure in their own lives, and on the other end of the spectrum it can be argued that the lack of structure in the family created the need in others.
      *shrugs shoulders*
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    Feb 13 2013: Hello Darwyn,
    I have spent a LOT of time exploring the life adventure, including childhood and the the influences I had as a child.

    I was lucky to have parents who were from opposite polarities.....a father with military type structure....do what I say no matter what, or you will be punished....and....an unconditionally loving mother, who taught and continually demonstrated the exploration of life with questions, pondering, contemplation and unconditional love.

    I experienced the feeling of being "ordered" to obey no matter what with the father, and with my mother, I experienced all the thoughts and feelings that go along with encouragement to explore, think and feel for myself. I have questioned these methods of teaching and raising children many times in my life. I have witnessed the end result of these teachings while working with incarcerated men and victims of abuse.

    I am SO very grateful that I embraced my mother's unconditional love, which includes respect, compassion, empathy and kindness while genuinely exploring the life experience.

    In general, I do not agree with Powell's military structure, which strips a child of his/her identity for the purpose of "programming" the child to simply obey without question.
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    Feb 14 2013: My father was always amazed that my brothers and I turned out so differently even though we all were raised by the same parents in the same house with the same rules and expectations. The truth is that we do differ but in details, not larger issues. A "stable" family does not guarantee happiness or success any more than a "dysfunctional" one inevitably leads to suffering and misery.
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    Feb 13 2013: My opinion on this subject is that you can spin any persons perspectives to have been the result their upbringing (If the family has xyz characteristic then the childs aspirations were nurtured and if the child comes from a family without said characteristic, then the child gained it out of unfulfilled need, etc etc)

    I do believe that there is some connection (albeit dependent on individual circumstance and possibly not measurable because of it), but I do think that peoples aspirations and resulting lifestyle ultimately come from themselves.
    I suppose the evidence (if you can call it that) is that rich, famous, important people can be found to have backgrounds of all varities.
    Perhaps their explanations (when it comes to the subject of family) is possibly just some form of rationalization (?)..
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    Feb 13 2013: I don't know how I'd be different. When I was in elementary school, they came to our school and did I.Q. tests for all the kids. They spent several hours with each kid. Years later, my mom told me the school called her and told her that with me and my younger brother, they stopped the test in the middle because we were both blowing off the charts, heavy genius. We did end up both getting degrees from Stanford. But I don't know if we would have been the same if we had different parents, our parents were both intelligent, open-minded people.
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    Feb 13 2013: My conjecture is that most people hail from families in which some aspects of the environment and parenting feel hospitable to the child and some incompatible with the child's temperament and that, with the exception of cases of abuse or dramatic, consistent over-indulgence or over-protection, kids learn what feels good and bad to them in terms of values, priorities, and behavior.

    Some damage carries forward, very likely, maybe just in the form of self-consciousness or anxiety about some things, not necessarily experienced in a conscious way. A child once out of the house may simply cringe at certain sorts of people and behaviors or seek to protect others from these situations.

    Many people from dysfinctional families surely lead contented, productive, creative lives thereafter It matters to some degree how dysfunctional and whether the child experienced at the same time some sources of strength and resourcefulness, whether within the family or without, or even in literature.

    This is conjecture only.