I grew up in a religious household as a Seventh-Day Adventist which briefly means that we go to church on Saturdays instead of Sundays. My church also has a private school attached to it that I attended from kindergarten to eighth grade. It was a very small school, with about 70 students, but every year it dwindled in size. The upstairs part of the school has an office, about six classrooms, and a science lab. The downstairs part has a computer lab, a library, and a gymnasium.
Due to the small size of the school, we wouldn’t switch classes or have multiple teachers for different subjects because the school was so small. This system allowed every teacher to have a unique relationship with each student because of the small setting. 90% of the students that went to the school also went to the church so not only would I see these people Monday-Friday from 8-3, I would also see them on Saturdays at church service. It is safe to say that we all grew very close and became a dysfunctional family in a sense. Being in this sort of environment with friends that you literally grew up with can have a great influence on the decisions you make. I feel that I became even more susceptible to peer pressure because my comfort level was so high. Especially as you become a teenager, your friends and surroundings have a great impact on your life. You look to them for confirmation in your responses, actions, and thoughts. Luckily, I was in a church environment so the pressures that I conformed to weren’t that drastic and didn’t have major consequences if any.
I think of myself as a friendly, ambitious, considerate, independent, competitive, intuitive, and courteous person. A lot of my personality is molded by my church and old church school. Everyone knew everyone, so it was easy to be an outgoing and friendly person because I
grew so comfortable with the people around me. Although I was always a competitive child, my competitive nature grew even more once I began to play basketball for the school. Since it wasn’t that many people on the team, the girls got to play with the boys which made everyone more competitive. I really liked this because when playing I would be considered one of the best, and not just the best “for the girls”. I also pride myself on being very independent and responsible. My old school has a lot to do with that because even at a young age, I was given a lot of responsibilities because of my leadership skills. Being involved in multiple activities at the church has also given me more confidence to be independent and trustworthy so that I can continue to help my church and its leaders.
One of the ways that my church has taught me to be considerate and grateful for the things that I have is through community service. My church has been serving the community for over fifty years. Every Tuesday from the morning until late afternoon we have hundreds of people that are less fortunate, come through our church and we give them bags of free food for them or their families. I help every week in the summer by bagging food, watching their kids, helping them carry food outside, doing paperwork, etc. This opened my eyes to the world around me and made me a more considerate and courteous person because I saw first-hand how people around me were struggling.
Throughout this theme we have been exploring the notion as to “Why Place Matters”. I didn’t realize how much place mattered in my own life until I had some time to reflect and really delve into it. Growing up in a religious home and going to church makes you think and act a certain way. One of the downsides of growing up in this type of environment is that people are more sheltered because the church tends to shield a lot of the things that are happening in the real
world. People in general have a habit of acting differently when they are being observed and I think this is one of the main reasons why I am the way I am because I’m used to having eyes on me. In my experience the people of the church were watching over me because they could see the potential I had to become a successful person and wanted nothing but the best for me. I always had someone helping me out whether it was financially, giving me advice, praying for me, or anything else I needed so I will forever be grateful for my old school and current church for everything that it has done and will continue to do for me and my future.
McRaney, David. “Confirmation Bias.” Articles, 23 June 2010, https://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/23/confirmation-bias/. Accessed 14 September 2018.