Genogram Project – Intro Psychology Research Paper
For this project, I interviewed four of my closest family members. They happen to be influential members in the family. I spoke with my grandfather and an uncle on my father’s side and a cousin from my mother’s side, as well as my mother. I discovered some very insightful information. In doing this project, I found some links and ties that I may not have ever considered before.
This project allowed me to look deeper into my family’s make-up.
To begin, I sat down and interviewed my cousin Kenneth Diego. He is my mother’s sister’s son. So in essence, he is my mother’s nephew. He was born in February of 1978, in Brooklyn, New York. At the moment he works in public relations in Manhattan, which is also where he lives. He completed high school and college, where he earned himself a Bachelor’s degree. He, like my entire family, is Roman Catholic in faith. He is currently single.
Next to be interviewed was my mother. Her name is Valerie Johnson, formerly Michaels. She was born in July of 1956, in Brooklyn. She is currently a housewife but, used to work in an insurance agency. She completed high school, but unfortunately, was unable to attend college as she had hoped. She is married to my father and has had two children.
My third interviewee was my uncle, Diego Johnson. He is my father’s youngest brother, last of 5 children. He was born in April of 1964, in Brooklyn. He is married with two children, twin girls actually. They are only 7 months old. He has a high school GED. Currently he works as a mechanic for the New York Transit Authority. And he lives in Brooklyn, New York.
The last person that I sat and spoke with is my grandfather, Angelo Johnson. He resides in Long Island, New York. He was born in Manhattan, in January of 1929. He was the last born in his family. His parents immigrated to this country from Italy in the 1920s. My grandfather is currently retired but previously worked as a Tool & Dye Maker / Designer. He is married to his second wife, but fathered 5 healthy children before that. He graduated high school and went on to take some college courses but was unable to complete college.
This is the basic information on these four family members. Now I will get into the more interesting portion of this project. When I sat down with these four people, I informed them of what the project entailed and asked if they could answer some of my questions. It went as follows:
My cousin Ken informed me that as an adolescent he dreamed of becoming an FBI Agent. As he got a little older, he planned on becoming an actor and is still trying to fulfill this dream. However at the moment he works in public relations, in Manhattan. He has many hobbies, which include acting/ theater, reading, writing, movies, and politics. Kenneth claims that he received the traits of a hardworking, creative thinking, and deep thinking person, from his parents. My cousin has an avid imagination and is always seeking the spotlight. That is just the way he is. However when he was younger, he received more attention than he had ever wanted.
At the age of 12, my cousin was involved in a hit and run on Halloween day, while trick-or-treating. The accident left him with a severely broken leg which required several operations to fix. He was in a cast & wheelchair for almost a year. This really had an affect on my family. This side of my family happens to be very small and so, we are very close. My mother’s relatives are normally very cautious people but after this happened, even more so. It kind of gave us a new outlook on life. Even though I was too young to really remember the entire event, we still hear about how lucky we are today. Even considering how bad the accident was, it could have been a lot worse. It took quite a while for him to be able to walk again, but another tendency in our family is our Italian stubborn nature. He fought through it and was able to overcome it. I think this accident in one way or another has influenced me. I try to base myself on what we have been through, and think about how we all handled this situation. As you will see, after interviewing my mother, this is not the first life- affirming accident to happen in our family.
My mother is successful and I am not referring to a career but, to the family that she as raised and held together, which includes a husband and two children. I believe that I know my mother pretty well and so I was not too surprised about the answers that she gave for my questions. She told me that as a child, she dreamed of becoming a major league baseball player, and until this day is still in love with the game. This could be the reason why I happen to enjoy the game so much. She is always saying that I remind her of herself when it comes to the compassion that I have for the game of baseball. Anyway, as she got a little older she became extremely interested in the field of psychology. As a matter of fact, when it came time to graduate from high school, she planned to go on to college and major in psychology. Unfortunately, because of expense, she was unable to do that.
When she was younger her hobbies included baseball card collecting. Now they range from watching the New York Mets, to bowling, to cooking and baking. My mother claims to be a strong-minded, family- oriented, independent person. She says that these are the traits that she inherited from her parents. My mother has a special talent in that she is able to read and write music, as well as play the piano skillfully.
As mentioned previously, there has been more than one major accident in our family history. And when it came time for her to mention anything important that affected her life, she reminded me of the story of her aunt. As a child, her aunt had gone ice skating and, for lack of details, wound up injuring her back in a major fall. This soon led to her life-long paralysis. From this point on, my grandmother, the aunt’s sister, instilled this event into her children. This may be one of the reasons why my family is very cautious. My mother and aunt were never allowed to go ice or roller skating, because of what happened to her sister. This aunt happened to go on to live a long life, but my mother reminds me of the hardships that she had to go through. And so, this proves once again, that my family has a tendency to pull through when the times are tough. This can definitely be considered a family characteristic.
Now I can move on to my father’s side of the family, which happens to be a little more complicated and much more influential on my life. First I interviewed my uncle Diego. As stated before, he was the youngest in the family, and so claims to have been picked on by his older brothers. When he was younger, my uncle wanted to help people. He really didn’t know exactly how he was to accomplish this, but knew this was what he wanted to do. He currently works as a mechanic and says he doesn’t really know what happened to his dream.
My uncle enjoys bicycling, fishing, and going to his cabana on the beach with his family. He loves spending time with his new baby girls, twins, Tabitha and Daniella. When asked about the traits that he thinks he received from his parents he responds that he is quiet, passive, honest, and a procrastinator. He claims to be unique in the family because he has the most scars and stitches. I guess that is something he is proud of. I then asked about how his life was when he was growing up and I knew that this was the topic that had affected us the most.
As I already knew, his parents, my grandparents, are divorced. This had a major impact on my uncle’s life as well as the entire family. I think him especially because he was the youngest and literally lived it. He says that even though he has horrible memories of that time, he has tried to have it influence him positively. My Uncle Diego hopes to avoid getting into the situation that his parents did. I think that this is linked to the fact that he hates to argue. He states that it is pointless to argue and that he always tries to work things out in a calm discussion. His wife confirmed this. I think that is a good way to look at such a hard thing.
Unfortunately I do not believe that the rest of my family follows is ideas. Two of the five siblings have wound up in divorce, and I would say that all of them have difficulty when it comes to marriage. I can not blame them though. If this is what they experienced and resented when they were younger, it will have a tendency to “rub-off” on you. Hopefully, the two who are still married will try their hardest to not end up like their parents.
There is another issue that has taken a toll on my family. One of my family members has chosen, since he was a teenager to involve himself in drug related activities. I will not get into too much detail, but will say that it has greatly impacted our family. This, as well as the pattern of divorce, influences me greatly. I feel that I base my standards on the examples set by my relatives. Being a teenager, I have experienced a lot. And when situations arise in which I have to make difficult decisions, I can firmly state that I have chosen the right options. I just look at what my uncle has put my family through and know that I can never do that, that it is not worth it, to hurt your family for a silly reason like that.
People always tell me that this isn’t true, but I know it is. When I was younger I viewed my uncle has a strong, fun person to be around. And now, I know that I can not say the same. I look at what he is now and the hardships that he has put upon the ones that love him most and know that I will never do the same. So I guess that I can say that through all the hardships that my family has endured, I have learned difficult lessons. I know that working out your problems should take preference to just giving up on them, and that making the right decisions as a teenager will affect the rest of your life.
The last family member that I interviewed was my Grandpa Angelo. His hobbies include reading, bowling, and theater, watching children at play, music, and comedy. He has an interest in history, geography, and science. As a child he dreamed of becoming a pilot. Then as he got a little older, he wanted to be a nautical engineer. Well he wound up a Tool & Dye Maker/ Designer. He claims to have gotten some traits from his parents which include his inner strength, confidence, patience, compassion, strength, and the ability to stand up for his family. My grandfather is friendly and enjoys helping people very much. This may be the stem from which my uncle grew from. They share his devotion. It is one of their many common traits.
He states that he raised 5 good hearted children who are similar to him in many ways. He also says that as a child, World War 2 impacted his life greatly. He had to live through air raids, disease, and constant fear. But he is reluctant to explain further, and says that he tried to be optimistic about his situation. As explained above, he himself has endured many great difficulties in his life, but has pulled through them. He now enjoys spending his time with his five children, whenever the opportunity presents itself, and eight grandchildren. Four of which he is able to call his own through his step daughter, who he loves very much, and considers his own.
And so in conclusion, I can assert the fact that there is a lot to be learned from my family. The lessons to be learned range, but the outcome is always the same. I try to use them in a positive way. These influences on my life will carry me through. There are some that I haven’t even uncovered yet, but I know they are there. And through this project I was able to focus on the main influences, and find ties that I never even realized existed.