The first time

What is the importance of a first? In the book, after Wang Lung’s first son was born, he got some red dye to color the eggs in celebration of the birth of his first son. In the Chinese culture, the significance of a first born son is vital. This is because daughters are usually the ones that marry out of the family and become a part of their husband’s family instead of continuing the family name, while the sons stay within the original family structure. The role of the daughters include taking care of her in-laws, taking care of her family (husband and children), cooking, cleaning, and everything within the household. While the role of the sons include the responsibility of taking care of his parents when they get older, providing for his family (i.e. food, money, shelter), and more importantly, carry the family name. The son will follow in the footsteps of the father and become the head of the household. Sons will carry the family name while the daughters will take the name of their husband, which is why the importance of having a son is essential. If there is no son to carry on the family name, the family line will discontinue. On top of that, not being able to have son is looked down upon because it shows that the family is weaker than other families  because they aren’t able to carry on more responsiblities. Being the first born son is not only important in Chinese cultures but also in many other cultures. In European tradition, it is common to pass on any title from the father to the oldest son. If the first born son were to die before the father, the title would be passed down to the next son. In Ireland, there is an ancient custom of passing on family names. The oldest son would traditionally be named after his father’s father. The second son would be named after his mother’s father and it’s not until the third son is born that he gets named after his own father. An event that is performed in Jewish families after the first son is born is called the Redemption of the First Born Son. This is an ancient tradition established in the Torah and is to be held 31 days after the birth of the son. It includes a large meal, a Kohain which is a member of the priest family, and the exchange of 5 silver coins. In ancient Japan, higher ranking samurai sent their sons to be trained at a formal dojo, but lower ranking families passed the martial skills on from father to oldest son. If there were no sons, the tradition was to teach the oldest daughter instead.

In my life, I think that every time I do something for the first time it is very important and has value to me. It could be your very first kiss or the first time you tried barbecue chicken pizza. You don’t remember the second or third time you’ve done something but you will always remember the first time. Trying new things for the first time can often discourage people but how are you going to know if you haven’t tried it? Sometimes people are so ignorant to what they haven’t tried and are quick to judge. The other day I saw a quote saying, “Don’t hate what you don’t understand.” And I thought about how relevant it was. I think that the main reason there is so much hate and judgment in this world is because we really don’t understand other people or things. But how is it fair that if we haven’t experience it? Your first experience is very important and something that you will always remember. It helps you grow as a person. I think that it is hard for people to break routines and embrace a new day. People feel security in what they already know and have fear of failure so they don’t want to see a new day as a new beginning. They fear of not being successful. A new experience can have many meanings depending on your attitude and perception. Sometimes doing something for the first time can be exciting and other times we may be doing things for the first time and not even know it. When you do something for the first time you can never experience it the same way again. Every time you do it, it will be different and this is how we can learn and grow. We can’t be so close minded and opinionated about everything. People choose what they like and what they don’t like.


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