“No members have learned the sensitivities, motivations, and

“No society can long sustain itself unless its members have learned the sensitivities, motivations, and skills involved in assisting and caring for other human beings.” This quote from Urie Bronfenbrenner illustrates a deeper meaning hidden between the lines of Bronfenbrenner’s very own theory. Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological model explains the ways in which human development is impacted through an individual’s interactions in various environments. This model is centered around the individual and suggests that different types of environments will produce different behaviors to varying extents. Bronfenbrenner organizes his model into four main levels: the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, and the macrosystem. Through these four levels of external influence, Bronfenbrenner demonstrates how influences and relationships from each system affects one’s goals, values, and identity, further supporting the notion that one’s actions can and do have an impact on not only those closest to them, but the society at large.           The interactions I experienced in my microsystem shaped my early personality and the way I viewed parental roles. The microsystem is the first layer of Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological model and is the direct environment in which the individual lives and exists. It commonly includes personal relationships within the immediate environment. For example, my childhood microsystem comprised of the family members in my household as well as my early peers. As a child, my family consisted of my mom, grandma, and sister. My dad lived in Japan for the first seven years of my life before coming to America. We shared a house with another family that we had known back in the Philippines. Like us, this family was a first generation family from the Philippines that came to America in search for the American dream. It was in this environment that I learned the importance of family solidarity and respecting your elders. I regarded this other family as my own, even calling them aunt and uncle in Tagalog. Growing up, I never felt like I was missing anything because my dad was not around. My mom was strong, determined, and strict, and I had plenty of other family figures around to fill the void. My mom became the center of my family system and it was in this system that I learned what was right and wrong, and the importance of family. The interactions in my early microsystem instilled many values that I follow today, and redefined the role of being a mother, something that will impact my future family when I in turn become a mother.           My experiences in the mesosystem layer deeply affected my view on education. Bronfenbrenner’s mesosystem explores the relationships between the people and the experiences within an individual’s microsystem. At my childhood home, there was plenty interaction between the people in my microsystem. My family was close to several of our neighbors, since we knew them back in the Philippines. It is a Filipino custom to regard close, respected friends as family. As a child, I grew up calling my neighbors Tita and Tito—aunt and uncle, respectively, in Tagalog—and treated them like blood relatives. However, school and home were two different spheres of my life with little overlap. My parents were not involved in any of the parent organizations because of my mom’s schedule and my dad’s language barrier. Since my mom did not have much physical presence at school, she got involved instead by reminding me to focus in school and pushing me to be involved in extracurriculars. She would stress that learning was the key to unlocking opportunity in the future. This instilled a love of learning in me and thus produced good grades throughout my years in school. Through my mother’s emphasis on education, my mesosystem ingrained in me a love of education and a drive to utilize higher education as means for upward mobility.           The exosystem had the largest impact on my values and my identity. Although the individual does not have direct contact with anything in the exosystem, they are still socialized and affected by the experiences in this layer. For example, having one parent as the sole breadwinner in the family shaped my characteristics. Once my dad came to America, it was difficult for him to find a job with a stable income. Since money was tight, my family compensated for it by teaching me the value of frugalness. I grew up disapproving of frivolous spending and learned the difference between desire and necessity at a young age. Although my family did not have much, they still sent money to our family in the Philippines. I became aware that the money I make is not just to spend on myself, but rather money I can give back to my family. As an adult, I find myself still frugal but generous with spending money on my family. Through my family’s socioeconomic status in my early years, my exosystem’s emphasis on frugality conveyed that money is not the only thing that can make one rich.           The final layer of this bioecological model—the macrosystem—affects every other level in this model and explains much of the person I am today. This outer layer comprises of the cultural context of the individual as well attitudes and ideologies. Many of the values that I predominantly identify with today are related to my culture. My beliefs are tied to my identity as a second generation Filipino-American living in the US. Growing up, my family emphasized traditional Filipino values that in turn evolved into Filipino-American values, a hybrid of two cultures. As a child, I was quiet and shy because Filipinos value respecting elders as well as authority figures. You did not question them since they were superior. As I grew older, the American culture forced me to come out of my shell and speak up. Now, I’ve developed a mix between being pensive and speaking up when deemed necessary. Another key part of my identity shaped by my macrosystem is the fact that I am a second generation Filipino. Many second generation Filipinos experience a phenomenon called “utang na loob” which translates to “internal debt”. Filipinos tend to feel like we have an debt that we owe our parents for leaving their lives in the Philippines to come to America for their children. This urge to repay the debt can translate itself in many ways. Filipinos tend to experience intense pressure surrounding our chosen profession since not only does this job support ourselves, but our parents and family too. This internal debt can complicate career paths, but can also serve as a great motivation to pursue one’s aspirations. Once in college, I became curious of the historical implications behind this debt. As I learned the history of my culture, I experienced intense pride in being Filipino. Although I have deviated slightly from my mother’s traditional Filipino culture by adding aspects of the American culture, I find myself still adhering closely to my Filipino-American heritage. Due to the context of my microsystem, I strongly identify as being a second-generation Filipino-American with the intent of passing on the cultural traditions and history to my children.           Through Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological model, it is evident that experiences in each layer of the model impacts an individual’s behavior, relationships, and identity. This model proves that the socialization of a child is not solely achieved by the parents alone, but rather by a collaborative effort between people and experiences at all levels. Whether directly or indirectly, people at varying levels of the model can alter a child’s development. Bronfenbrenner’s model also illustrates how humans are all linked in some way. At some point, different points in an individual’s bioecological model may overlap and intertwine with one another. Even if the individuals do not interact directly, this model provides support that these two individuals can still impact one another. This concept shows how humans, no matter the race, location, or distance, are all connected. Like Urie Bronfenbrenner stated in his quote, caring for other human beings is the way society will long sustain itself and it is important that people acknowledge this so that they can positively affect others through their actions.