Family Culture


A major catastrophe has almost completely devastated the infrastructure of your country. The emergency government has decided that the surviving citizens will be best served if they are evacuated to other countries willing to take refugees. You and your immediate family are among the survivors of this catastrophic event. However, you have absolutely no input into the final destination or in any other evacuation details. You are told that your host country’s culture is completely different from your own, and that you might have to stay there permanently. You are further told that, in addition to one change of clothes, you can only take 3 small items with you. You decide to take three items that you hold dear and that represent your family culture.


The three items I would choose are:

  1. Our son’s first Christmas stocking. I would explain to people that this was special to me because we are Christian and we celebrate Christmas. Our son was born on Christmas Eve and when they brought him to us after his bath and vitals, etc, he was wrapped in a blanket and inside of a big red Christmas stocking that said, “My First Christmas.” This represents our son and our religious beliefs all in one.
  2. Our wedding video. I would explain that this was special to me because it not only represented our promise to each other but it also represented our relationship with people who were close to us. Almost every guest at our wedding can at some point or another be seen in the video. It represents our personalities and that fact that we like to have fun and enjoy being around people we love and care about.
  3. A family meatball recipe that has been passed down. This is special to me because it would be a piece of my family that I could take. It represents to me how important we always felt that family was. Being together with your family, enjoying good food and even better company. The love we have for each other is represented through something like this that can be passed down through generations.


If upon arrival I was told that I could only bring one thing, I think it would be my wedding video. This video represents many things about my family culture and the people who I hope near and dear to me. My son was in our wedding and although I would be upset to leave his stocking around, he would be with me and he is in the video along with many other people I loved who may not be going to the same place I was. This also represents the importance of family like the meatballs because they were all there to share the day with us and can be seen in the video.

I’m not sure I gained any insights about myself through this exercise. I did need to think about things that were important to me and decide which things to take but I always knew what was most important to me and the things I chose represent the thoughts I have always had.


About toteachistotouchlives

Hi. My name is Kristen Hammel and I am a first grade teacher in Maryland. I am in my fourth year of teaching and now beginning my Masters program in Early Childhood Education at Walden University. I am very excited for this new journey I am embarking on and am excited to share my experiences with you.

2 responses »

  1. Hi Kristen,
    Thank you for sharing the items that are dear to you. I like that you included the family recipe. That is truly something that can continue to be passed down for generations and is a way for the family culture to be relived over and over again long after you are gone. I think that food is a big part of culture. I never really realized how important it was to me until I lived in another country for a year and wasn’t able to get some of the very basic things that I was used to at home.

  2. I am sure your son looked adorable in his Christmas stocking! You are right in that the stocking combines both your beliefs as well as the wonderful memory of your son’s first Christmas. I too tried to pick items that provided dual purpose in what they represented to me and my family. I am sure your wedding was a wonderful event and the video would serve as a wonderful reminder of that special day!

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