The waters of time drift by slowly, clouded by dust kicked up from all of humanity
marching down the road to oblivion and into history. On my small and insignificant track of life;
from the time I was conjured into existence through to the inevitable end where I drift off to
learn the higher truths of mortality, as I can only speculate at this time, I have seen and
experienced many things. Not all were good however; these experiences vary through cultural
lenses as I grew up overseas in Germany, Austria, and Poland, due to my father’s profession as a
soldier. This meant I was exposed to many cultures and social standards. My world view has
been set askew as compared to those who have never left their home town, by this I will show
how the social standards I saw growing up and what these mean to me in my judgment now; then
to the future.
Spending my early life as a child of a soldier was not that of normality. I learned at a
young age what hate was, however I didn’t know what racism was until I was an adolescent.
Walking around Auschwitz in Poland, standing in a Germanic monk monastery where the entire
population was executed in the main chapel in front of alter under the eyes of God, and a 7 year
old American boy was beat up for nothing more than being naïve’ about the differences in sports.
Seeing the world famous Oktoberfest in Munich Germany, eating bratwursts drinking beer (non-
alcoholic kinder beer for kids) and dancing, singing and fellowship that transcended nationality.
On the world stage Germany was always a world power that, although misguided at time, created
many cultural and social standards. Steeped in history that stretches farther back than that of the
Roman Empire many of modern socially acceptable standards came through Germany. Heavy
drinking at a young age, use of illicit drugs, over eating leading to obesity, comradery,
acceptance, hate, and much more. Not all good, actually most are bad; those being socially
acceptable does not mean that it is ok for these things to be done. My parents showed me this
when I was very young, however in an attempt to be accepted in the majority of society I did try
some socially acceptable things such as alcohol use and abuse, and racism towards others that
were different in many ways. I had to learn the hard way that what others wanted me to be was
not who I was or wanted to be.
At the age of 7 most kids start to understand that they have a say in how they see and
interact in the world. At age 7, I was interacting with numerous cultures and I learned that most
times accepting what people are on the surface is all you need to know. It’s socially acceptable to
ask questions about a person in order to get to know them. To the contrary I believe the only
information any one receives about me will be information I volunteer. Social protocol states that
we as humans need to interact with each other. This is socially acceptable however when we
break it down only people, in my opinion, that need to interact with others are people who need
to be lead to the truth, that truth will always elude every one because it will only come with the
realm of a higher power, whatever the religion. Seeing and, even more importantly, touching
Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland gave me a perspective of history not usually obtained
by most people. It showed me that history is not what some overly educated professor in a tweed
Ivy League school jacket said history is. History is the compass of human existence to not only
show where we came from or are going but also how to avoid some of the same problems of our
past. So at age 7 I started to see the world as what it should be not what it was.
The world I grew up in is not what I thought of the world as it is now. The fact that I was
exposed to so much in my life...
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