The Mind Set

children-atlas

This is a piece of writing to honor the latest school victims that fell to bullets from a gun in the wrong hands. It is a piece about the mind set of a society. It is a piece about immigration. It is a piece about my own journey and mind set.

Growing up in Denmark, spending my childhood and youth there, I became part of the cultural mind set. A society of the Common Good. Look out for each other which also means that you care deeply about what others think about you. You feel constantly judged. No freedom to feel who you are. You dress alike, you design your home alike, you eat alike, you become alike. The Common Good prevails.

America is a magnet for people who think differently from their own culture, who seek new ways of being in the world and I, too, fit into this category. America pulled. A society of the free individual. Look out for yourself, be yourself, put yourself on the map, small or large, but nevertheless, to be seen, to be heard, to be recognized, is the ultimate goal. To not be depended on a community or even a family. To stand on your own, making things happen, for better or for worse, is the dream, the American dream.

To be able to take care of yourself over taking care of others. It starts in your family. Having children means moving your center of attention away from yourself to them. You work for the next generation. And not yourself. Children are true, unspoiled human beings until they are marked. Marked by their family, by their peers, by their teachers, by the prevailing mind set.

Being an immigrant to America and bringing children to this world, I did contend with both mind sets: common good and individual freedom. Ultimately, I wanted my children to be successful. As human beings, as citizens, as individuals. Which they are. And now, they are parents themselves. In America. Contending with the prevailing mind set:

The individual freedom. The opportunity to pursue your dream. The emphasis on achievement. The idea of becoming a superstar.

 

4 Comments »

  1. I think that you have hit the nail on the head. In America, there is a myth about the strong individual. We need a better story – one that celebrates the community, cooperation and compassion. Thank you for a very thought=provoking article

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