Hafa Adai from Guam,
I grew up in an extended family system. My grandparents had 12 children. My mother was the third from the oldest. After the children were grown, my grandparents ended up with 33 grandchildren. I am one of those 33 grandchildren. We're already more than enough to make our own baseball team. Seven of those grandchildren were born and raised in the US mainland, and we did not meet them until the 1970s when they decided to visit the family in Guam. Two of my aunts married Stateside Americans, and they moved to the States where they had children. Therefore, I grew up with 26 cousins. Most of them were boys. In fact, 20 of them were boys and there were only 6 of us girls in the extended family here.
In my family alone, I am the only girl. I don't have any sisters. I have two younger brothers. Being the oldest, it was my duty to teach my younger brothers to fly straight and walk right. However, that was not an easy task. For some reason, boys don't really like being taught the errors of their ways by a female. The rule in my family was "the younger should never show their tongue to the oldest, and the oldest should never raise their fist against the younger." That means, I had to find a way to teach my younger brothers to fly straight and walk right without resorting to force or violence. Another rule in the Chamorro family is "anything bad that happens to the youngest, the oldest is to be in trouble for it." Keeping my youngest brother out of trouble was hard. The kid was accident-prone and ended up in the hospital more times than I can count. It wasn't my fault that my youngest brother thought asprin was candy and swallowed the whole bottle when he was only 2 years old. Besides, I was only 6 years old at the time, and I didn't give him the asprin. It was my 5 year old brother who gave it to him.
Having my first cousins around constantly was like having so many brothers and sisters. It is also the responsibility of all adults in the extended family system to discipline the children, not just the parents. Na famta i direchon i taotao tano. It takes an entire community to raise a child in the right way.
Every child is taught to respect all elderly persons by smelling their hand regardless of whether they are related to them or not. This custom of smelling the hand of the elderly is called manngingi and is taken seriously in our culture. The Filipinos also have a similar custom. The only difference is that the child must take the hand of the elderly person and put it on their (the child's) forehead as a sign of respect. Because I have both Chamorro and Filipino heritage, I was taught both ways.
Si Yu'us Ma'ase