Term Paper: Social Work Narrative Henry Schein

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Social Work

Narrative

Henry Schein celebrated his 80th birthday last April, surrounded by his family. However, Schein's family is scattered across the United States, and none of his three children are on speaking terms with the other. The following facts about Henry Schein are useful to know:

Holocaust survivor; was interred in a camp until liberation, when he was 5 years old.

He was the only one in his family that he knows of to survive

Schein was reunited with an uncle who had already moved to the U.S.A.

Lived in New York until he was 35, then moved to Miami

Became a schoolteacher, then quit to follow a dream of starting his own business

Wife of 25 years died of breast cancer.

Believes in hard work, discipline, but is not rigid.

His kids do not talk to each other for various reasons, and he does not like to get involved.

Critical Analysis

Piaget: Illustrates Schein's development through the traumatic childhood he had, through moving to the United States.

Fowler: Shows how Schein spent much of his adult life at Stage 4 (individuative-reflective faith), in which there is some tension regarding the struggle between earthly needs and commitment vs. The pull of myths, symbols, and the mysteries of faith.

Conflict theory: Schein has had innumerable experiences highlighting the importance of conflict theory, as a Holocaust survivor to someone who realized that anti-Semitism did not end with the Holocaust. Reveals the ways Schein has identified himself as Jewish, and illustrates how several of his formative career experiences have gone with regards to the experience of anti-Semitism. Also reveals the dynamics in the social system of his family, especially regarding the unresolved issues among his children.

Erikson psycho-social development: At the Ego Integrity vs. Despair stage, Schein faces mortality with an open mind, and yet feels conflicted and hurt by the fact that he might die without seeing his three children get along

Sue & Sue's Racial/Cultural Identity Development Model: Schein is emerging from the introspection stage, and developing more integrative awareness.

Narrative

Henry Schein celebrated his 80th birthday last April. Each of his three children visited him to celebrate separately, because none of them are on speaking terms with the other. Hi three children -- two males and one female -- live scattered across the United States. Henry says he does not want to get involved in the reasons why his children do not speak to one another, and distinctly wants to change the subject any time the conflict is brought up in conversation.

Henry Schein was born in Bamberg, Germany in 1933, the same year Hitler came to power. His parents were both schoolteachers. His mother taught violin and his father taught biology. When Henry was very young -- he does not even know exactly how old he was -- the family was taken to the camps in Poland. Henry was separated from his parents. At first, Henry was able to stay with his mother and then when Henry was about five years old, they were separated. Henry remained in the camps until liberation, when he was about ten years old. His memories of his early childhood are wrought with emotion, and the details are summarily fuzzy. Henry barely remembers his mother, and his father not at all. He has no photographs of them, save for what his first cousin found when performing some genealogical research. Henry was adopted by an organization that facilitated passage of children survivors, and he was sent to the United States because he had some relatives there.

When Henry was eleven, he made it to New York and lived with his uncle and his first cousins in Brooklyn. They shared a tiny apartment, with all the children in one small room. Henry's cousins included Harry, who is two years older, and Sabrina, who is a year younger. They had lived in New York since 1931. The uncle worked in a garment factory. His wife, Henry's aunt, died of tuberculosis. Henry struggled somewhat in school, but after graduation he decided to follow in his parents footsteps to become a teacher. Henry attended Brooklyn College, where he met his wife, Rose. Rose's family was middle class, whereas Henry's was more working class. Rose was also studying to be a schoolteacher. They both graduated the same year, but taught at different schools. Henry taught in the New York public school system until he was 35 years old, when he decided to make a dramatic change in his life and move to Miami in 1968. Rose was supportive of Henry's dream, especially as she did not mind the idea of moving to a warmer climate. Henry briefly considered moving to Israel, but decided that he preferred to follow his dream of starting a business. Both Henry and Rose wanted to be somewhere with a Jewish community, as all their lives they had lived in New York surrounded by a supportive Jewish community that understood their concerns, their need for social support, and their culture.

Rose was a religious woman, who wanted to remain in the Orthodox community in which she was raised. Henry was not as religious, but obliged his wife, and the two became active in the South Florida Jewish community. Through some contacts with former New Yorkers they met in Miami, Henry and Rose were able to establish themselves there. For Henry, religion was a source of cultural pride and connection, and he does not know if he believes in God. He has recently started to develop more of an interest in spiritual matters, though.

After moving to Miami, Henry started a bakery. This was something he had wanted to do since he was a child in Brooklyn and had happy memories of the Jewish bakeries there. His bakery did well, catering to the local Jewish community. Rose remained a schoolteacher until she died at age 50.

Henry and Rose had three children together: Bernard, Claire, and Edwin, in that order. Claire was sick frequently, and her condition placed a considerable degree of financial and emotional burden on Henry and Rose. Bernard has what Henry describes as a "type A" personality. He is bossy, aggressive, and domineering. Bernard is an attorney who lives in Los Angeles. Claire is a housewife, who has three children from her first marriage. She and her second husband live in Boca Raton, but the three children live with the father and Henry rarely sees them. Edwin lives in New York City. He is gay, has a long-term live-in partner, and is a communications director for an art organization. Henry describes his parenting style as "firm," and says he believes in discipline. However, he also admits that he does not interfere with his children's lives. Henry said that his wife tended to be stricter with the children, whereas he was viewed as the "fun" parent. He says the children had a happy childhood in a stable household, but that later in life they developed strong dislikes for one another for reasons beyond his control. Henry claims that Claire deliberately isolates herself, and rarely talks to him or her siblings. Bernard is too busy and wrapped up in his life, and had a major falling out with Edwin. Henry claims that Edwin had wanted Bernard's advice as legal counsel, but Bernard insisted on charging him and Edwin was not happy.

Rose died of breast cancer, after fighting it for four years. Her death deepened the rift between the three children, who bickered over her estate. Henry was relieved to see that Rose was no longer suffering, but his life changed dramatically since she died because "she was the life of the party," and Henry barely socializes any more now that Rose is gone. His son Edwin visits three times per year. Bernard hardly visits; maybe he comes out once every three to four years but usually when it is combined with a business trip. He sees Claire about once per month or once every two months.

If he has a motto to live by, it would be, "Do your best." Henry feels that there is not much that can be done about things like luck, but that each person can dig deep to find the energy and wherewithal to achieve personal goals. Since Rose's death, Henry has been less involved with the Jewish community. He does not have many friends, but he has two or three that he sees regularly. One of his best friends passed away last fall and left Henry thinking deeper than ever about his own mortality. If he had a chance to live life over, he would not. Henry says that he lived a good life, has overcome his challenges well, and although he misses Rose, feels relatively satisfied. Henry does note that he wished he had the opportunity to travel more, because now that he is old, he feels too tired to do anything.

Critical Analysis

Henry's life can be analyzed in terms of Piaget's developmental stages, Fowler's theory… [END OF PREVIEW]

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