Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Paean To Immigrant Parents

Immigrant parents have been getting a bad rap lately. They've been accused of having over-the-top expectations, pressuring their kids to succeed (as in go to Harvard and get rich and famous before you're twenty), and being rigid about retaining traditions. Okay, some of that might be true. But I want to encourage young adults who are enduring intense parental heat right now. When you get to my stage of life (after the therapy-slash-forgiveness), your relationship with your parents can emerge through the flames like gold.

My own parents, for example, recently learned how to use email, partly so that I could send news to them about my writing and speaking. Yesterday, I forwarded a note of affirmation across the country to California and my Dad typed back the following with his index finger:
congratulations we love you DAD & MOM
(NOTE: As they say in India, "kindly remember" that my father's date of birth was years before Gandhi marched to the sea to protest the British salt tax. The bottom choice on the pull-down menu of "year of birth" on most websites is usually about five years after Dad was born.)

The pressure's disappeared with the years, and all that's left is their praise and pride (even though I'm not a doctor, famous, and have gazillions of dollars in my bank account.) I finally get that NOBODY will care as deeply, cheer as loudly, or celebrate as wildly with me as they do. So hang in there if you're in your teens or twenties and feel like you're living the between-cultures nightmare. Having parental units who dream the American dream for you just might morph into your dream come true down the road. It certainly has for me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

strider is sleeping
the dog is sleeping
the dog is sleeping
the dog is sleeping

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