Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory explains how a child’s environment affects his or her development (Gonzalez-Mena, 2016). He divided a person’s environment into four different classes: the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem. The microsystem encompasses the immediate setting where one experiences direct contact and interactions with people around. The basic microsystem is the family. The rest includes caregivers, peers, and people in the school environment. The behavior of people in the microsystem has a significant impact on the behavior of children. The mesosystem is an interaction between different elements of the microsystem. The interactions affect an individual directly or indirectly (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). They could be of positive or negative influence. The exosystem comprises environments where the individual does not participate actively. However the involvement of someone else in the exosystem indirectly influences them. It might be a decision that a parent makes, and, accordingly, its outcome affects the child. The macrosystem is the culture of the community where the individual lives. It also includes economic aspects and political systems.
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My parents were a major influence as I grew up. I learned the virtues of hard work from them. My father worked in the military, while my mother was a teacher. They ensured that we had most of the things that my brother and I asked for. They also taught us to love one another. My mother was a peacemaker, who could not tolerate conflicts between any members of the family. She insisted that people should care for each other, which is an underlying principle that we uphold up to date.
I was also very close to my kindergarten teacher, so she played a significant role in my growth. Her name was Rebecca. She believed in me and always praised me whenever I had a minor accomplishment. In turn, it made me confident at a young age.
Another influential person in my life was my elder brother, Arthur. During my childhood, spending time with him was fun. He was very focused on his studying and always at the top of his class. I admired his perseverance and wanted to be just like him. He could spare his time to teach me in the study room. He taught me that remaining determined while achieving one’s goals is important in studying and other aspects of life.
My parents were very active participants in my school’s activities, especially my mother. She maintained a close relationship with my teachers. She was also a member of the Parent Teacher Association. They were concerned about the development at my school and could always gather and contribute to fundraising and other occasions. Her interest made me realize that school was not such a bad place. In fact, I developed an immense love for it.
My parents were also very religious. They both sang in the local church choir. They ensured that we did not miss a day without going to church. Their active participation in religious events made me spiritual as a young person.
Once, however, my mesosystem affected me negatively; in particular, it was when my parents had a misunderstanding. They were both upset shouting at each other in my presence. Moreover, the conflict ended with a separation that lasted a month. I stayed with my mother. It was the hardest time of my childhood as I was uncertain of the future and could barely concentrate on studying.
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An aspect in my exosystem that affected me negatively was the nature of my father’s occupation. Being in the military meant much traveling to other states and abroad. Sometimes he left us for months, which was a deep frustration considering the fact that we needed his support and attention. I would feel insecure and anxious whenever he left on a mission, uncertain of what might happen to him while he was away.
I also reminisce about a brighter event when my mother graduated from master’s class and received a new job as a lecturer. We were happy about her new status. The lecturing job also provided her with a better salary than her previous occupation.
I have an uncle who works as an anthropologist. He could travel all over the world for his research, and, whenever he visited us, he could tell me about his adventures in many unique and even exotic places that made me stunned. As a result, I developed an interest in traveling and reading about places.
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I spent my childhood in a community that had a pronounced music culture. There were frequent talent search competitions, concerts, and annual award ceremonies for the best musicians. Seeing other people performing and receiving loud applauses motivated me to take part in karaoke events. Due to regular participation, I honed my vocal skills.
The eating culture in my community was also of great influence to me. People could cook and eat in their homes. They ate healthy foods during all meals, keeping junk food at a minimum level or avoiding it altogether. Meat, potatoes, and vegetables was a common dish. Therefore, at an early age I already knew that junk food was unhealthy and harmful to my health.
The local culture also insisted on the virtue of respect among people. Children were expected to treat their elders with high respect. My parents raised me as a very courteous person with a high regard for my seniors.
This assignment has made me realize that the environment in which a child grows play a significant role in terms of its beliefs, virtues, and behavior. Unfortunate events can have adverse effects on an individual’s mental state. The presence of close people in one’s life largely shapes his or her habits. From now, I will ensure that I conduct myself well around children and their families. This way, if they are to develop any habit from me, it will always be of positive impact in their lives.