The greatest thing I’ve been able to learn from my Nigerian culture is that no culture is right or wrong. I don’t think I was able to completely understand it in elementary school or middle school because I was constantly comparing myself to other people, like the money they had and the things their parents let them do.
In developmental psychology, we always talk about how adolescence is the hardest period of time for a child because their prior knowledge only came from their parents and home environment, but once they step out they learn from their peers, and somewhat school, but mostly from peers. Once I left middle school and entered high school I started looking at people and life differently because I had a better sense of who I was even though I don’t think I’m completely there yet. From my parents I learned to value family and community and to appreciate that wow, Americans can learn from Nigerians as much as Nigerians can learn from Americans. And so neither culture is better than the other.
Culture is pervasive, a part of everything else. Knowing that I had the entire Nigerian community, that I had all of them there— I think my life would be completely different if I didn’t have that.