The word "inheritance" can mean so many different things. Most initially think about money, or material possessions after their parent(s) or close relatives die and pass their belongings along. However, it can also mean what religious, political, and socioeconomic status you belong to and believe in throughout your entire life. And as the ol' saying goes, "We are what we are born into."

But what about individualism?

When you think about where you were born and the beliefs your parents or guardians raised you with, more than likely, you grew up living with those same traits. A child born in say, India more than likely will be Hindu or Buddhist; one in America, Christian, Catholic, or Jewish; the Middle East, Muslim. And political views, it usually comes down to the parents or grandparents beliefs which are ingrained in our minds from birth. Racial and socioeconomic issues, most go along with whatever the members of their particular ethnic groups embrace.

But, as we grow older, some begin questioning their beliefs. Are they really right for me? Do I truly think this way? Am I simply a product of my family's origins and am therefore willing to just go along with whatever they think is best? Am I comfortable voting, behaving, working, even marrying this way?

In some cultures and ethnic groups you are highly criticized, if not chastised for wondering away from their mainstream ideas and viewpoints. It's simply not done. You could loose the approval of your family, be disowned, disavowed, even prevented from making a living by word-of-mouth. No wonder the masses usually stick with the history of their people. But again, what about individualism?

I've always regarded myself as an individualistic person. I grew up in a Baptist Church; however I normally go to a nondenominational one today. The occupations I've worked in have been very different from those of my relatives. My political views, I'm a Republican as is my immediate family although I have relatives who are Democratic. For me, I believe in what I see as right, wrong, or up for debate. My viewpoints and other things don't necessarily come from my inheritance, they come from what my eyes watch and heart feels is best for me.

Opening yourself up to the world and experiencing things you aren't familiar with can be intriguing and educational. It helps bring your life full circle, exposing you to diverse people, cultures, and other systems of choice. But realistically, many never stray to far from the farm, so to speak.

Most who know me personally see me as fairly conservative with my lifestyle choices and political/religious views. After all, I'm a white male who was born and raised in Texas. I grew up being around Grandparents who were farmers, parents that worked in professional fields, and other relatives who worked hard during the week, raised families, and went to a Christian church every Sunday. Conservatism was always surrounding me and that was okay. But, as I grew older I saw the need to branch out, take a look around, and see what else is out there.

In years past, I've attended church services representing all the major faiths. During the past few political elections I watched and listened to all the major media outlets promoting both liberal and conservative points of view. I now own music CD's which play everything from opera to heavy metal. I was really afraid of heights while young, yet later became a Pilot and would jump at going into outer space. I never used to read, now I'm soon to be a published author.

It's amazing what can happen when you seek out, listen, watch and are open to learning from others.

Thanks for listening...

To read more of Randy Mitchell's writing, visit his website

Look for his inspirational novel, SONS IN THE CLOUDS in bookstores soon!