The Impact of Family Heritage on Identity

115 views 5 pages ~ 1171 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

A family as the foundation of self-identity

A family is a salient aspect of the human life. Many people value families since it is a fountain of emotional support, a source of identity, as well as a core of care. The society favors the family unit since it offers a moral, religious, and ethical background for dissimilar clans. On the contrary, there are families that lack ethical, religious, and moral foundations but live a functional and flourishing love bound by love and loyalty. The family unit has a significant impact on the identity of an individual. From a very early age, children observe their parents and close members of the family to get information. The information they acquire plays a critical role in their identity formation. A person embraces all the negative and positive aspects of their family, which later defines who they are in the society.

Unique values and cultural heritage

Many families are bound by particular and unique values, attitudes, beliefs, and fundamental assumptions. The cultural elements help form and shape the identity of an individual. Families inherit the cultural elements from one generation to other making specific attitudes, beliefs, and values unique to separate families. In addition, family heritage refers to the characteristics and practices that families pass to their new generations. There are several processes in families that define identity and increase the bond between members. The cultural heritage and traditions provide negative and positive influences that shape the identity. There are several aspects and channels that families use to help create an identity, promote their culture, and increase cohesion. Family storytelling sessions are one of the major conduits that allow individuals to develop their identity. Family members participating in family narratives come from different generations. Their contributions to the narratives provide information that influences an individual from a cultural, family and individual level. In these sessions, members of a family share some personal incidences, collective experiences, and childhood occurrences that give an amalgamation of distinct cultures and norms that have to affect the generations and become family legacies. The legacies are vital as they form the identity and provide meaning for the new generations. The narrations provide a new perspective and broaden their comprehension about life and their identity.

The impact on individual perception and choices

The impact of family heritage on individuals varies from person to person. For example, youths in their late 20’s start making serious considerations about the society when they prepare to start their families. The traditions and heritage provide knowledge that assists individuals to define their self-identity. Family heritage affects a personal perception of the diverse aspects and moral values of life. While the meaning of an individual’s forms form, the family heritage affects their identity; the meaning also affects a person outside the family environment.

Rejection and the search for identity

Family heritage and traditions shape the choices an individual makes in life. People, who come from families with strong and respectable cultures and traditions, feel the urge to pass their knowledge to the next generation. On the other hand, persons from weak and unrespectable cultures tend to alienate from their cultural beliefs and pick new ones as they grow from disparate cultures. Adrienne Rich clearly states in her poem Delta that shows she has moved on from her past.

Family culture and self-identity

The initial family unit and the family culture determine the identity of an individual. For a deeper comprehension of one's personality and identity, it is crucial to learn more about the cultures the tradition and the heritage of the family. Alice Walker, in the Everyday Use narrative, demonstrates the idea of family heritage through the troubled relationship that exists between mamma and her daughters. Dee in the story rejects her real heritage and embraces a new one. She changes her name to Wangero, which she believes reflects her African heritage while completely assumes her family legacy. Dee fails to have an identity as she constructs a new one out of anger rather than knowledge from the family and their traditions. The narrative shows how the lack of a strong family foundation leads to a poor sense of identity. The culture of a family is the main element that affects how an individual views their community and themselves. Trying to hide from her past Dee makes creates a new identity, which has no solid foundation. Her identity is temporary and easy to destroy once a new culture comes along, as she shies away from her past and culture (Walker). On the other hand, Maggie stays true to her heritage and finds meaning in her past giving her a strong identity. This is why Mamma feels that Maggie deserves the quilt since she has a genuine appreciation of her culture, heritage, and family legacy.

Multicultural influences on identity

The People in Me by Robin Kelly speak of multicultural influences on the identity of individuals. Robin believes that despite one's family heritage and cultural background, external influences in the early ages of a child have pronounced effects on a person’s identity. Those who come from assorted cultural backgrounds have faced challenges in identifying themselves with particular communities. However, as much as identity is flexible, humans still identify with the initial ethnic, national, and cultural heritage. The People in Me is similar to the society today where many individuals lose their identity in the technological advancement and the cultural erosion due to an integration of diverse cultures (Kelley). However, individuals should seek to know more about their cultural backgrounds and information, which prevents loss of identity. Similar to Dee in the Everyday Use story, if she had sought to understand her culture, family heritage, and traditions she would not have lost her identity (Walker). The narratives illustrate that the family is the major element that contributes to the identity of an individual.

Upholding family traditions for self-identity

In conclusion, self-identity is because of the basic family unit. The family unit provides the cultural, moral, and ethical background that shapes and informs an individual’s identity. Thus, it is important to form strong cultural backgrounds for children to ensure they develop string self-identities. Additionally, identity development is a continuous process not confined to an individual but includes the social, cultural backgrounds, and the environments around a person. As technology and globalization lead to a multicultural society and culture erosion n the world today, upholding family traditions is vital. The traditions apart from strengthening family bonds acts as mediums that older generations use to pass information to the younger generations. The traditions hold critical information about the family heritage, legacies, values, beliefs, and attitudes, critical in the development of an individual’s identity. The narratives affirm that families are the foundation of self-identity thus is an essential institution in the society.

Works Cited

Kelley, Robin DG. "The people in me."Utne Reader 95 (1999): 79-81.

Rich, Adrienne. "Delta."Poetry Society of America,

Walker, Alice. Everyday use. Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 2004.

December 12, 2023

Life Family Sociology


Experience Identity

Number of pages


Number of words




This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro