Culture Travel

An Italian All-Time Classic

Mum is always the protagonist; she provides affection and care. Whereas the other women are just a commodity to...

By: Dr. Constantina Skenteri

Italy, the country I was dreaming to live in since I was a baby. The country of culture, music, fashion, innovation and the most delicious language in the planet. What about the dark side of Some Italians? Positive traits are easy to notice, yet, seeing through the imperfections gets challenging.

1. Certain Italians (particularly in Rome) are born to fool others; it’s a type of pleasure weird to understand but a great source of satisfaction for many. Possibly, it gives a sense of managing the situation. Fooling for 10 cents; avoiding bus tickets and taxes; pretending not to have «spicci» for the espresso; ordering the most expensive dish when the bill is “alla Romana”, and the cheapest when each pays individually; robbing the famous «caparra» etc. The ‘truffatori paraculi» feel the interior obligation to, at least, give it a go to fool; hopefully to work less and gain more, and even become «mantenuti» when they grow up.

2. Women have a prominent role in shaping the Italian society. Usually, they have an urge to dominate, with a desperate need to take the reins. Probably they confuse control with love. One can have or love or control… not both! At a young age, girls pretend everything from everyone. At a mature age, they try, at first, to control their husbands who say «si amore” but do what they want. Afterwards, they realize their failure, and make their best to control their children; particularly boys who have high prospects to become «mammoni» and eat pasta every Sunday with their mamma, forever!

The society puts pressure to do what is visible, to get into the act and do things mainly for others, so that you fit in and are accepted by the social norms.

3. Men remain spoiled boys, often very capable not to love. They are a consequence of their mums who pamper them as long as possible. Commonly, young Italians live with their family at least until their 30s. Men, apparently look attractive and self-confident, contemporary Don Giovanni with a profound need for self-indulgence. Deep inside, they are boys emotionally dependent on their mums, with giant difficulties to invest in another person and commit. They leave no space for a woman in their life.

Mum is always the protagonist; she provides affection and care. Whereas the other women are just a commodity to please these boys during the week. The incapacity to connect and build a healthy relationship is main source of many failed relationships, marriages and even one of the reasons for remaining a bachelor until the 70s, where the «badante straniera» takes the lead.

4. Italian politicians are unique. But this is not the focus of the article. Luckily, Italy is rich with capable and skilled people, smart economists, lawyers, engineers, doctors, as well as technicians. However, these don’t even think or try to get into politics. They are aware that politics {worldwide} is about power, control and wealth. Thus, they choose to pave their way as successful professionals, to do something that they like, or they are good at.

5. And finally, schools, in particular high schools where students are trained only how to learn by heart things, they will forget right the next day. It seems like schools are designed to produce mass-ignorance.

Furthermore, nobody seems to care to encourage instruction and renovate schools. It is comfortable to leave things as they were initially done 40-50 years ago; for some, laziness gives a sense of self- satisfaction.

There are no skills taught, no creativity, no reasoning, no flexibility and no relevance. Most of the students suffer from stress and anxiety because of the high importance teachers put to marks. In the end, they become masters in cheating simply because they cannot learn by heart endless and maybe useless texts e.g. in Latin; which is an important subject if focus is being put on developing student’s logic and critical thinking, instead of memorizing poems.

It could be more productive if these schools focus on the student’s learning process through an approach which is stimulating, interesting and entertaining at the same time. There is an urgent need to upgrade teachers, their mindset and their teaching method. Modules like mindfulness, psychology, and economy could be added in high schools. Moreover, students need to know the basics on how to make, save, invest and preserve money.

If you want to build up a country, you should start from young people who need to get from their schools a solid background for their lives, which can help them understand and discover themselves, as well as decide what and who they want to become. Being digital and experts in social media is not enough; it is rather a distraction from real life. The task of technology is to facilitate our life, and not to control us or make us lose focus. Youngsters need to develop their mind, learn how to learn, and become capable to think and analyze.

Our mind is our greatest asset, which we have to take-care the most. When we invest in ourselves, we build gradually our self-awareness, self-confidence and empathy. As human beings, we appreciate only things that we deserve, and we earn. Hence, education including that from our family, school and ourselves, as well as influences from our environment, are essential in creating our values, priorities, skills and identity – who we are and our story. We can be capable to dominate ourselves and our emotions, put limits to ourselves and to others.

Evidently, all the issues mentioned above have a common denominator, which is Control. In general, when someone doesn’t know how to control himself, struggles to control others. The happier and more certain we are with ourselves, the less desire we have to seek control. In the end, control is no fun.

To put it in a nutshell, all these ingredients make Italy special with its peculiar characteristics; an iconic country, one of the kind, that however needs to enhance its mindset. A relationship of «a game is on», where one explores the joys of the Italian way, is pleased by the sun, the colors, the monuments, the fantastic cappuccino and perfect tiramisu. On the other hand, avoids becoming part of the mentality cliché, and forges ahead with all the memorable experiences. Social problems are quite wicked, but not impossible to resolve.

The infusion of quality education, respect and civilization would result in an effortless, more spontaneous and less complex society, embracing trends less influenced by the typical past. We cannot change the past, but we can understand it, and use its lessons to do better in the present and flourish in the future. If I have to close with the bright side, throughout these years, I have met people that I look up to, friends that I really enjoy their presence, and professionals I take pleasure in working with.

«Italy that never changes«… really?!


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