Adam Penney My Cultural Autobiography
SELF AWARENESS !
I am a white middle class American. I grew up in the middle class, raised by two parents who worked for everything they have.
I was raised in a Presbyterian home and attended church regularly. Born and raised in South Carolina I am proud of my upbringing and bbq. However I am very aware of other regional cultures and don’t believe one region better than the next.
I am a heterosexual male who is married and has a young son. I was living in the middle class until I decided to go back to college. Now I am at the bottom edge of middle class.
I speak English and no matter how many Spanish classes I take. My southern accent is very mild, unless you ask my Midwestern inlaws.
My dad is from Indiana and my mom from Florida. Mom is a nurse and dad is an engineer. College did not happen for my dad until his 30’s, like me. My mom came from a poor hardworking family while my dad came from a wealthy family. I learned a lot about both socioeconomic classes.
While money tore my fathers family apart, a core family and solid values allowed my mothers to thrive. An important lesson I will never forget.
My family has been in the USA for generations, descendants from England and Scotland
My parents made the decision to spend money on travel instead of cars, clothes, nice houses, etc…
My life now is traditionally American but it hasn’t been for long. I spent eight years traveling the world before getting married, going to college and starting a family. I have experienced people from the East coast to the West coast and in between, Fiji to Switzerland and Africa. I spent my twenties choosing to live poor in exchange for the riches of experience. I carry what I believe to be invaluable knowledge in travel, culture, and self awareness that cannot be found in any other way.
Privilege and Disadvantage ! â€Ż Throughout my life I have had the full support of my
parents and that makes me privileged. I do not mean financially but emotionally. However they are helping financially now that I am in school. Both my parents and in-laws have seen success that I feel is almost unattainable. I am beginning my career at a time when the cost of living is skyrocketing while pay is hardly increasing. ! â€Ż I have continually showed myself success through hard
work and believe that success is a great possibility.
! â€Ż I do feel however that my entire life has been spent in
the most accepted realm of American society. I have never been discriminated against, made fun of due to my financial level, I have been given no reason I should not be successful.
! â€Ż This may sound crazy but my greatest disadvantage is
that I am privileged. It would be easy to quit and fall back on my wife and parents. My wife has a good paying job and I donâ€™t need to make much money for our family to be happy. I am not digging myself out of poverty, I want to feel like I have legitimately bettered society. At the end of my days when all is said and done what will be my legacy?
The unspoken pressure to succeed is never easy and I find myself forgetting everything that I already have. Most of the world would be very happy with my life. I always have my parents as a fall back plan and that can never leave my mind. I also believe that my name means something, something you cannot hide from. Mine is a successful family with no real problems financially or emotionally.
Paul Plunkett was a name I adapted that allowed me to act freely from my background. I used this name periodically on travels out west to feel and act like a legitimate poor person. While I was poor I always had my parents if the need came. I wanted to escape my perfect life and experience something else, appreciate all that I have. Paul allowed me to do that. Going without for extended periods of time brings a much greater appreciation for what we do have.
Concept of Education ! â€Ż
Both my parents went to college. They are both avid readers and always interested in the world around them. I always believed education was only gained through schooling. It was later in life when I realized that in all my travels I was becoming an educated person. Now I have a college degree along with my brother and all of my Aunts and Uncles. College is the norm in my family. Interestingly enough one of the most intelligent people I knew dropped out of school in the 8th grade, my grandfather. He could talk any subject in depth and was a master at all things electronic. In my young adult years that played a large role in my thoughts on college.
Education to me is a desire to learn. I believe my education from formal schooling is no greater that all that I have experienced in my life. In the classroom education is not names and dates but how to act in public, dress, talk in front of people, handle adversity. Education is a blend of the subject matter with real life skills allowing the individual to better spread their knowledge.
! Education is very valuable in any form. It is there for most
people they just need to be shown the doors. Education is most valuable when the individual desires it above other interest. I don’t believe that all students should leave high school strait for college. If and Education is what they want the time will come. I was not ready at 18 but was very motivated at 28 and have been very successful due to that time. ! I will be paying back my education for a long time, which is
ok. I have set an invaluable example for my son while opening up my family to a more fulfilling life.
Obviously the decision to be a teacher was not about money. It is about the human connection and our desire to help one another. I want to make a difference in a kids life. Children come from so many different backgrounds that I may be their only connection to subject. If they can observe and see how much fun I have learning and spreading that knowledge to them hopefully I can make a difference at some point in their life.
I have no formula for success I plan to follow other than always giving my best while being open to new ideas. I am a late starter, if all goes well I will start my career at 34, I am ready. I want our children to enjoy learning and always attempt to expand their horizons. I chose to be who I am and am proud of that. I hope through my experience to educate kids on life and make if fun. If it is fun it is learned whether or not they realize it.