Revelations, Reflections, Reconciliation and Renewal
An In-depth Self analysis of Family Experiences
If you approach this paper (5-6 pages in length, 250 points and 10% of final grade) with the right attitude, it may be one of the best learning experiences you can get in a class like this. By attitude, I mean a willingness to reflect honestly and deeply about your own family experiences. Give the reader only sufficient detail to understand the context — sometimes a good family story is the best way to do that. The most important requirement of the paper is that it must demonstrate your ability to apply some of the things you have read about in this class to your own life. You do this by making explicit connections between your experiences and the concepts you have learned in this class by heavily referencing our text, external links, articles, class assignments and discussions. (Please don’t simply insert a quote just to meet this requirement; use your quotes to deepen your analysis by ensuring that they are integral to explaining your points. Be sure to give page numbers for direct quotes.)Your paper will be absolutely confidential between you and me, and I will share nothing in the paper with anyone.Revelations, Reflections, Reconciliation and Renewal
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The following questions are provided to guide you in thinking about and structuring the paper. You do not need to follow my order — you can organize your paper as you see fit — but you must answer at least 5 of the questions, number 10 is mandatory. If you cannot answer, explain why, because that may give you insight. For example, if you have difficulty being open enough to write this paper, begin with Question 7 as a way to at least begin to discuss why.
- What were your early childhood experiences of love? Was your early experience in your family one of affectionate acceptance or of rejection? Did your parents openly display love and affection for one another? For you and your siblings? Do you regard yourself as an outgoing, affectionate person or a more reserved one? Is it more important that your mate be warmly affectionate, or perceptive and practical (choose one or the other)? How do you look on the responsibility of having and rearing children? Do you think you will be a good parent?
- Would you categorize your parents’ marriage or relationship? Was it conflict habituated, devitalized, or passive-congenial? If your parents are divorced, how did their breakup affect you? If your parents never married, how did this affect you? If you have a step parent, how would you categorize the marriage? In general, what kind of home life did you have as a child? What were your most significant family experiences between ages five and twelve? Between ages thirteen and eighteen? Since you started to college?
- How did your parents tend to settle their arguments? Would you categorize your parents’ marriage as authoritarian or democratic? Do you tend to be authoritarian, permissive, or democratic in working out conflicts? In working out conflicts with you, were your parents authoritarian, permissive, or democratic? How do you anticipate settling conflicts in your own marriage if you are unmarried? How do you settle them if you are currently married? How did you if you are divorced? Now answer the same question with your children.
- What were your relationships to your siblings as a child? Who got their own way the most? What are your relations with them today? Does your position in the family (whether oldest, middle, or youngest — male or female) bring any special strain or reward?
- What were your childhood experiences regarding sex? How did you acquire your sex education? What is your attitude toward sex as you anticipate marriage? What experience and attitude do you expect your mate to have? (If you are already married or divorced, think back prior to your marriage to answer this question.)
- Were ceremonial observances important in your family when you were a child? What special rituals can you remember for celebrations, birthdays, Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah (or other religious holidays), Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, etc. What did you like the best? Will or have any of these carried on today or in the future?
- Revelations, Reflections, Reconciliation and Renewal
- Is your approach to life, your lifestyle, essentially negative or essentially positive? Do you believe that most people are good and can be trusted, or that most people have to be watched so as to keep them honest? Do you consider yourself to be essentially a rebel or essentially a conformist? Do you become angry when things don’t go the way you want them? Do other people’s suggestions and ideas seem stupid many times? Which of the following three terms most accurately describes you: practical, humanistic, or religious/spiritual? Why did you choose this description over the other two choices? Describe your ideal mate. What do/did you really want as a partner? Would such a person be attracted to you? Why or why not?
- Do you think you have self-understanding? What are the five or six chief goals of your life? Name and explain your five most important values. (Examples might be wealth, power, fame, to give service, to gain knowledge, to maintain your health.) What do you fear most? List and explain at least three fears. How did you acquire your values, goals, and fears?
- Describe the person you are today. Write a second paragraph about the person you want to become. Do you expect to change much more in your life? What would most likely change about yourself? Can you do it? Does a marriage partner have anything to do with these changes?
- In conclusion, if there were one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be? It might be adopting or strengthening a good feature. Why do you want to make this change? How do you think it would change your relationships? Discuss 3 concrete steps you could take to effect the change you want. Revelations, Reflections, Reconciliation and Renewal