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The Samoan and Western Cultures

             The Samoan culture's customs and viewpoints are very different from the Western culture. Samoans think very differently in regards to family life, especially in matters concerning the young children of their home. They have different viewpoints than those of Western culture on what children's responsibilities should be and how they should be treated, on the education of the young girls and boys, on sexual morality, and on if and when one should expose tragic events to children. With such diversity between the Samoan and Western culture, are there any aspects of the Samoan life that Westerners would want to adopt to benefit their lifestyle? It is true that Samoans live what appears to be a stress free and relaxed life, but in my viewpoint they are clearly giving up too much to obtain this way of life.
             Samoan adults often treat their children like servants of the household, passing off huge majorities of daily responsibilities for them to do. By the age of just six or seven, the little girls of the household have the main task of tending to any new baby. Once the baby has been weaned from his mother, the baby is then handed over to the younger girl in the household. That child is now responsible for the upbringing of this baby. Some of the girls are not even strong enough to carry a baby of six months old, yet they struggle to care for them as if they were their mothers.
             In addition to baby-tending, little girls must also acquire the tasks of weaving, climbing the coconut trees, tidying the house, bringing water from the sea, and learning to beg for favors from relatives. The Samoan adults seem to make sure the children are kept busy with such chores, leaving little time for anything else. As Margaret Mead points out, "only a few adventurous children may slip away for a swim in the shadow of a high rock" (14). Here Mead is showing how the children feel as though they must keep to the shadows if doing anything other than the daily tasks they are assigned.

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