|Being proud to
be an American is a beautiful and obviously a patriotic view. Especially
after the horrific events of September 11th, it is imperative. But what
about being proud of your nationality? Is it important to remember where you
came from? I know that growing up Italian meant something to me. I was proud
and even bragged the fact to my friends. Why, what reasons did I have to be
so proud of my Italian heritage?
As we move further
into the 21st Century our knowledge, and I call it “Passion” for being
Italian is dwindling in our youth. Many families today have succumbed to the
“American way of life.” Now Italian-American families are onto their fourth
and fifth generations. Parents and grandparents are falling into what I call
the “Socialization of the Secular American Culture.”
This culture is
bridging a gap between our youth and those responsible for teaching them, we
the adults. From our language, to our culture, and beliefs systems the
family unit once enjoyed by Italians is being disintegrated.
I remember as a
child growing up for the first seven years of my life in Hamburg, NY, which
is on the outskirts of Buffalo, NY. Family dinners were had every night.
Sundays were special because the entire family would go to Chestnut Ridge
Park for picnics.
Now 25 years later
many older family members have passed and younger Italians are not carrying
on the family traditions. Many families have left the Italian communities of
the East Coast and moved all around the nation. It is necessary because
people are raising families and need to go where the work is, but at what
price? We Italians in America are becoming more and more Americanized, and
we are losing our culture.
I am lucky that my
immediate family is still here with me in Las Vegas. We have recently been
blessed with two additions to the family, and I am Godfather to one. The
family does make time for each other. Visiting my sister and husband with
their kids or going out for family dinners. We watch sporting events
together and I mean the entire family. My mother and sister know as much
about sports as anyone. We watch the Italian National soccer team play, to
the Buffalo Bills NFL team and Buffalo Sabres NHL hockey team.
Yes this is what my family does, but we do it together.
As for the history
of Italy and those who came to the new world looking for prosperity across
the ocean the Italian traditions remained the same for decades. Now we as
Italians have to get back what we lost.
I implore you to
read about Italian traditions. On the internet or just go to the public
library and learn about our ancestry. We are a passionate people and we need
to continue that.
Parents make time
for your children. Pass on the stories from the old country. Pass on the
stories that your parents and grandparents told you. I remember as a child
waking up at 3:00am when my father would come home from work. He would tell
me stories about Italy. Both good and bad, but it made me proud. He told me
about growing up as a child in Italy during World War II. He told me about
my past and he instilled in me the importance to be proud of my Italian
For my part, as
Editor of “La Voce,” our “Education Section” will be expanded to add a
“Learning and Fun Section” for children. Here they will find puzzles, word
find games, and match games. This will able us to help teach history,
Italian definitions, and spread the culture that we are so proud to be part
of to the next generations.