Dubai: The Importance of Family

Submitted by Arya Shajpaul on the 2020 winter session program in Dubai sponsored by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering…

Family is one the biggest parts of the culture within the Arab world. Families stick together no matter what circumstances they are in, and the actions you take are not only felt by you, but rippled throughout the family. Compared to American culture, the emphasis on family is much more prevalent.

Throughout my high school and college years, I’ve noticed more and more adolescents are willing to leave their families and be by themselves in the name of independence. They tend to push family away, not happy being back at home. Being fully independent and being able to survive in harsh circumstances is one of the more brutal qualities within the American culture. It seems like being disjointed from family is becoming normalized.

As I have talked to local Gulf Arabs, I noticed that each one of them keeps family close. Family comes first in all circumstances.  In addition, they tend to have bigger families so they must support each other by sharing what they have. It’s expected that once the parents get older, then the older siblings must start having responsibilities taking care of family. The older sibling must increasingly support the younger siblings since the parents may not be able to provide everything. It’s rare to see disjointed families due to this support system.

American culture should adopt some aspects of family since it may be beneficial to future generations by creating an environment of mental and emotional security. The added supports in Arab culture can lead to a network that transforms families into a pillar of unbreakable support.