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I agree with the posts above suggesting that the answer to this question largely comes down to values. The values of parents are passed on to their children, not intact, but in part. The accumulated value set a child recieves from his parents will determine how the child will make decisions.
An individual's family heritage impacts the choices they make through the influence the family has on the person as pertains to their customs and culture. A person may want to honor his family's heritage because he believes in the way the family, as a whole, thinks about and does things in life. This can include their religious traditions (if any), their work ethic, their political viewpoints, and the way they interact within their community with other citizens.
However, an individual may not adhere to all he or she was exposed to in their family. Consequently, they may rebel against certain accepted norms that the family holds dear to as part of their way of life. Therefore, the choices the individual makes may be opposite those the family believes in and this may cause friction between members in the family.
Family heritage is something that helps to shape who we are and what we value. For instance, my family places a lot of emphasis on spending time together. This includes family gatherings with extended family and distant relatives. My husband's family is not the same way. His family spends time with immediate family but not with extended family. Consequently, it was strange for him when we first married to spend so much time with my grandparents, aunt, and uncles. It has been strange for me to try and understand that he simply does not know his aunts and uncles. While this is a minor cultural difference, it does shape the way we see our own family. It is sometimes difficult to decide how we will divide our time at holidays and other such events because our preconceived ideas are a little different. The point is that our family heritage and traditions shape who we are and what we value. We may choose to do some things differently than the way we were raised, but those values are still ingrained in us and effect our decisions one way or another.
The thinking that accompanies each socio-economic class greatly affects those who are within this class. Often it is very difficult to break from the tradition of underachievement, for instance. Many of the older movies touch upon this tradition; for instance, in one classic movie, How Green is My Valley, the male members of a Welsh family all work in the coal mines. So, when one boy wishes to break the mold, he meets with much contradiction. In his desire to become educated, he must break with family tradition and go to school. Consequently, he is ostracized from his village as many become envious of him.
I agree with the first response. However, it is important to realize that if you are exposed only to your family heritage, particularly in your early years, with little to no exposure to other kinds of cultural traditions or preferences, you are likely to limit yourself, not realizing all the wonderful choices there are in the world. It's like my mother's meatloaf, which, while a family tradition, was quite dreadful. I didn't eat meatloaf for years and years, and then I finally figured out that there were much better versions available. Her chicken soup, on the other hand, was very good, and this is a part of my heritage I have embraced. Family heritage can be a bad "fit" for a person, but you need to get out in the world and learn what might be a good fit for you.
Family heritage can, but does not have to, impact a person's choices. A person can choose to go along with the traditions of their family or they can move away from those traditions. For example, if your family is very frugal, you might continue to be that way as an adult, but you might also rebel and spend a lot of money. If your family has always been very religious, you might be as well or you might pull away.
So family heritage does not determine our choices. It just helps to shape them a little bit.
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