Relationships are also a key part of Native American life, particularly regarding the family. Group sharing of knowledge and responsibilities is integral to the Native American lifestyle. Generosity is valued, especially in helping others who are less fortunate. According to Native American tradition, equality of position, title, or material possessions (Axelson, 1985). Native Americans are also taught not to interfere with others; direct eye contact, particularly with an elder, is traditionally considered a sign of disrespect.
Concerning the aging process, elders are respected for their knowledge and experience. In fact, in traditional families, it becomes their responsibility to pass down their wisdom and learning to the young. All members of a tribe care for the elderly. Death is an accepted fact of natural life, not to be approached with fear. The soul is believed to be immortal, in the sense of experiencing a "changing of worlds" (Deloria, 1973, p. 184.)
Native Americans are a very heterogeneous group, made up of approximately 530 different tribes. Of these, 280 reside on reservations, which accounts for approximately 50% of Native Americans in the United States (Wise & Miller, 1983). Reservation tribes differ between themselves, in customs, language, and family structure. In addition, Native Americans, in general, differ greatly in their degree of acculturation (adoption of mainstream society's values and ways of life), having to do with whether or not they live on reservations (Sue & Sue, 1990). This cultural variance, in turn, includes values and tribal identities that are different from those of most other Americans, who often do not understand many of the rituals, beliefs, and kinship differences (Axelson, 1985). Traditional Native American values can come into conflict with those of the mainstream, particularly when efforts are not made toward exploring and understanding these differences within their cultural context. As a result, inaccurate and/or overgeneralized stereotypes may be perpetuated, further complicating attempts to care for and provide services to Native American elderly.
A good parent is invaluable to our society. Without good parents, we face a hopeless future. You know one when you meet one, because they share similar qualities, such as:
One of the chief qualities that distinguish a good parent from a bad parent is self-sacrifice. A good parent does all that she can to meet the needs of her children, and nurturing her children is the most important thing in her life (along with the relationship with her spouse). It guides her decisions, the ways she spends money and how much or little personal time she takes for herself. Even the decision to work from home and not outside the home demonstrates a self-sacrificing attitude.
If you want to be a good parent, you must have a teachable spirit. You can't be a "know it all." That's not to say that you should follow all or even most of the advice that's freely given to you, and especially when they conflict with your values and ethics. However, if there aren't any conflicting values and if there's evidence that a