What is an indulgence? To indulge means “to yield to an inclination or desire or to allow oneself to follow one’s will according to (“indulge,” Dictionary.com, n.d.)” Dr. Geert Hofstede was a European researcher with an interest cultural dimensions. He conducted studies that compared countries, utilizing six dimensions of national culture (Moran, Remington Abramson & Moran, 2014). One of those dimensions was indulgence and what I’m interested in discussing specifically for the country of Mexico.
I am a Mexican American woman, born and raised in Dallas, Texas. My father was born in Mexico and immigrated here in the late 60s and, a few years later, met my mother, a fifth-generation Mexican American. While I was raised with American ideals, I was also immersed in Mexican culture via my father. My father felt it was vital to honor Mexican traditions. That included a yearly trip to Mexico once a year every summer until I was 13 years old, where I learned quite a bit about farming and raising my own food, living and working as a family unit, the noticeable difference in gender roles, and most important tradition.
My first language was Spanish, and I became bilingual by the time I was in second grade. I speak, read, and write in Spanish fluently. I was not educated in Spanish, so any grammatically correct Spanish I know, I’ve learned in school. While I can’t speak for the masses, I can speak from my own experience in growing up in a Mexican American family.
We didn’t have much growing up. My father was a laborer and eventually went to school to become a certified auto mechanic. My mother worked off and on at a local warehouse and often volunteered at our church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Catholic Church. The little money that we did have aside from the necessities was usually spent on church tithes, donations, entrance fees for the yearly Fall Festival Queen competition. The annual fall festival queen competition required a hefty donation, holding a raffle, and volunteering to sell food at the festival with all the proceeds going to the church. This was nearly $3,000, and at the time, it wasn’t money we had just laying around. My mother worked, sold, volunteered in exchange for donations to sell to make enough money to pay for my entrance fee, and of the course, the coronation dress, which was another couple hundred dollars. This was so important to my family that they were willing to go without to win, which meant giving away our money. At the same time and at ten years old, we were already saving for my Quinceañera or also known as simply Quince, which is a coming of age event and tradition in Mexico when a daughter turns fifteen.
This event can be almost as expensive as the average wedding. But let me stop here and remind you that we did not have much money, no college savings, no potential inheritance, nothing. We lived day-to-day, but as the lesson commentary and the course book indicated, Mexican people are indulgent. My family lived for the family get-togethers every Sunday, family reunions, weddings, birthdays, Quinceañera’s, baby showers, and so on. We used to joke that we needed an account to fund these things events, all the while going back home to our one-bedroom house and a family of six.
Geer Hofstede defines indulgence as the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised (Hofstede, n.d.). As we read in the lesson commentary, within the course book and most recently on Professor Hofstede’s consulting website, Mexico has a very high score of indulgence at a whopping 97. Hofstede goes on to say that this high score is evidence of an indulgent culture with a positive attitude and a tendency towards optimism with an emphasis on leisure time. This makes some sense now as initially I felt that the description was inaccurate, thinking that Mexican people are some of the hardest working people I know as I practically raised myself and my younger brother since my father and mother worked quite a bit when we were very young. However, given Hofstede’s description of indulgent, I agree and see the logic in his assessment of Mexico.
Mexican’s are indulgent, impulsive, live life to its fullest, optimistic, and enjoy a good party. Perhaps the optimism comes from the notion that most Mexicans are ok with the high degree of separation between the have and have nots. Because they are ok with this, they are ok with spending money, enjoying life and not worrying about the future until we get passed today. We simply think that that person is in a better position, graduated college, has a big house because they’ve earned it and we have not. Again, I can only speak from my personal experience. While I miss some of the traditions I grew up with, I have a different mindset today. I’m a planner, a visionary, and a lover of learning. I believe I deserve and can achieve as much as I want through my efforts.
I live between work hard, play hard, and live life to the fullest.
Hofstede, G. Mexico – Hofstede Insights. Retrieved 1 April 2020, from https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country/mexico/
“Indulge” (2020). Dictionary.com. Retrieved from
Michel, C. (2014). File:Quinceañera. Santa Fe (14184438777).jpg – Wikimedia Commons.
Retrieved 1 April 2020, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Quincea%C3%B1era._Santa_Fe_(14184438777).jpg
Moran, R., Remington Abramson, N., & Moran, S. (2014). Managing Cultural Differences (9th
ed.). New York: Routledge. Pennsylvania State University. (2020). Lesson 9: Central
America and Mexico. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2041071/modules/items/27977869