Our family provides us with the roots of identity through genetics, culture, spirit and emotion. Understanding our family background helps us to understand ourselves. Family background is important in help you to define who you are because you are part of everything around you. Values and qualities that are learned and gained from our parents and grandparents mould an individual into the person they are today. In the book Looking for Alibrandi Josephine's Italian background plays a major role in who she really is. Her family have strong Italian feelings and traditions.

Although they are living in Australia they still keep a lot of Italian traditions. This has a major impact on Josephine. Josephine understands the same values and qualities as her mother and grandmother. She has grown up admiring her mother as an Italian, however, Josephine is part of two cultures and is probably more Australian than Italian. Whether we like it or not nationality will always make up a important part of our lives. Also family background is of great importance because it impacts on our beliefs and spirituality.

Religion is a part of understanding and asking questions about the purpose of someone's life and who we are. For example I have grown up in a family with a Seventh-day Adventist background and in addition to this I now believe in and worship God. This is a part of me. Without this background I might not have become a Christian.

Josephine, in the novel, Looking for Alibrandi, is continually searching for something special. She does not know who her father is and nor his family background. There is a gaping hole in her life and she doesn't yet know what or how big it is. When she eventually meets him she undergoes a learning process about a new piece of her life. To assist our self understanding, our self identity and our self-awareness as a member of a group it is important to learn about one's heritage or family background by speaking to older relatives who share about their pasts. This gives the individual a greater understanding of themselves, who they are and why they are.

It helps them to define or confirm or reweave their values and identity. For example, Josephine, in the novel, Looking for Alibrandi is constantly questioning her mother and grandmother about the past. This is an important part of Josephine learning who she is and why she is. This understanding of her family background will help her define her values and identity. In my life, my knowledge and influence of my Grandad has influenced our interest in sports and having a go. This impacted on how my brother and I like to get out with friends and play cricket for fun.

My contact with Grandad taught me to respect and value older people. Finally, without our family background our understanding of our selves will be limited because we are part of everything that is around us. It is the very foundation upon which we build our understanding of our self.