Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

A Traditional Brazilian Family

I have some distant cousins in Brazil that represent a lot of the Brazilian values I have talked about in this blog. I spoke to them via Facetime the other day and enjoyed seeing them all. The father and mother are in their late 50’s. They are considered “upper middle class” and have a very good lifestyle. This lifestyle includes a residence in the city and a country “resort”, with soccer fields and swimming pools. The father looks great for his age and being a wealthy man, could have gone the selfish route and exchanged his wife of 35 years for a younger woman. However, they remain married, and the wife said he is getting better and better as a husband. How many women can say that? She too looks very good for her age, dressing in that youthful style that many Brazilian women have: slender, long hair, trendy.

The couple has two sons. You would think that being the sons of a wealthy man they would be involved in drugs or behave like playboys who wreck the sports car Daddy gave them. None of that. Both sons (late 20’s) are married and are doctors. The oldest son has a daughter. Nice Brazilian guys from good families get married to another nice Brazilian woman from a good family and settle down early. And they stay married. The family is very important. They were all together celebrating NYE in their summer house. Everybody looked healthy and happy. They have a cook who they treat like family. Most Brazilians with a high financial status such as this family has cooks, maids and gardeners. Their leisure time is for the family. Here in America you see so many husbands and wives who spend their weekends mowing the lawn, cleaning the house and fixing things that little time is left for just hanging out and talking to their family members. I know there are many families like this one in America. I would like my readers to tell me about stable families in America they know. Families not plagued by divorce, single mothers, drugs, prison time, cheating, etc.

I was very impressed by this family. I concede that having money helps everyone. It can make people happier and look better. It can allow them nice things and vacations that make them happier. But don’t we all know many families that have money and are super dysfunctional? This is an example of a balanced family which is rarer and rarer these days. Where the concept of marriage, kids and family is more important than selfishness and individualism.

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January 5, 2011 - Posted by | Brazil, Difference between cultures, Family, Society

5 Comments »

  1. Having enough money to hire household help really does make a huge difference. The family you describe sound quite spoiled to me. A cook? A maid? These people are certainly living on a whole different plane from most of us…

    I would certainly spend a lot more time on leisure if I did not have to spend time cleaning and preparing food to store and eat throughout the week.

    Did you speak to the cook? How much time does she have to spend with her family?

    I have heard a saying: “In Brazil, if you don’t have a maid, then you probably are one.”

    Comment by Lena | January 12, 2011 | Reply

    • We had a cook too. To answer your question, she spent weekends and evenings with her family. I guess that for Americans to hire a maid seems like a luxury, but in Brazil from middle class upward practically every family has one. It’s actually a good way for the lower class women to make a living. If we decided that having one was for the spoiled and fired them, thousands if not milions of poor women would lose their income. I live with my sister in a small apartment, so I don’t have a maid, but I do hire a cleaning lady for a good cleaning once a week. Single people tend to do that too.

      Comment by Rita | January 26, 2011 | Reply

  2. We had a cook too. To answer your question, she spent weekends and evenings with her family. I guess that for Americans to hire a maid seems like a luxury, but in Brazil from middle class upward practically every family has one. It’s actually a good way for the lower class women to make a living. If we decided that having one was for the spoiled and fired them, thousands if not milions of poor women would lose their income. I live with my sister in a small apartment, so I don’t have a maid, but I do hire a cleaning lady for a good cleaning once a week. Single people tend to do that too.

    Comment by Rita | January 26, 2011 | Reply

  3. That makes sense. Brazil is very much like South Africa. When I lived in Cape Town, I had a maid come every other day, and a lady to cook at once a week. These women lived a the former second-level district (under apartheid, for mixed-race people and Indians), and were willing to work in the wealthy suburbs for very low pay. Brazil has a similar socio-economic and racial power balance, so the middle class certainly have far greater access to household help than even the upper-middle class in the US do.

    Comment by Lena | February 9, 2011 | Reply

  4. me and my family do a whole bunch of stuff together, we laugh together, eat together, and just have a good time we may not be THAT wealthy but we still get by with the 6 of us living in one house, having my dad work in washington dc, my mom working at GM, my oldest sister just finished college and getting a job, my second oldest sister becoming a teacher, and my third oldest sister becoming a docter, we all do very good compared to some families even if we dont have that much money.

    Comment by Mila | May 28, 2011 | Reply


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