How have cultural expectations shaped you?

People like us don’t do things like that. You should or shouldn’t do what you are about to do.

Our culture provides an onslaught of must do’s and better not’s, but are they really for our good or just a set of guidelines to be considered.

I am a fan of “men being men” and the differentiation between the sexes, but what did the common refrain from the John Wayne era movies, “boys don’t cry” actually deliver? Did the fruit of this mindset give rise to the silent veteran forbidden from openly grieving the loss of his brothers in arms?

Does a whole human, that happens to be male, really need to cauterize a segment of his being to walk down the sidewalk as a man?

Must every black woman take on the mantel of the “strong black woman” that will defy any wrong, and refuse to express her emotion without tipping the scales into “angry black woman” territory?

Must every Asian kid be the smartest kid in the class or bring dishonor upon the next two generations.

“Don’t tell me that you are going to sing that song to God; he only likes one kind of music.”

“This is an underprivileged neighborhood; therefore the kids should only aspire to a nice cozy spot at the State penitentiary.”

“We don’t marry that kind of people.”

Every culture delivers a rich heritage passed through generational stories. This history can be inspiring and uplifting or soul crushing if one is unable to hurdle the high bar of expectations.

You and I grew up with these expectations, breathing the air deep into our being until it became a part of who we are.

Chess master and jujitsu world champion, Josh Waitzkin, said, “the weakness of any martial arts is the dogma of the sport.” This quote reveals profound truths about any dogma. If our dogma it is held too closely, it quickly becomes our greatest weakness, and failure is imminent.

The health of your culture needs your input. Embrace the good and challenge the wrong.

What cultural expectations have you adopted?

How have these expectations served you and how have they hurt you?

What cultural norms have you rejected? What was the consequence?

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