Sunday, February 24, 2008
We were out at dinner the other evening celebrating Kullen's five years in our family.
As we are eating Karson says,"MacKenzie says that Chinese people are ugly and that I am Chinese."
"What did you say?"
"I told her that I was Korean, not Chinese," said Karson.
So how do you explain to a six year old that to this little white girl thinks that all Asians look alike no matter if they are Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese or Vietnamese. That it will not matter to her that each Asian nation and people have their own rich culture of food, stories, dress, history and that are as individual and unique as each person at the school. How do you explain to a young child that he will forever be seen as a foreigner in the land of opportunity and that when people ask where he is from they aren't asking if he is from Cleveland? How do you explain that soon he will be getting questions about where his "real" parents are and that for some reason perfect strangers will always question our family relationship with the "are they related line", planting seeds of doubt about our family in his young mind? How do I explain to him that what I learned was learned based on white privilege and that he will get all that entails when he is with me but that it will disappear when he is not? How to I explain to him that when he is older and driving to keep his hands visible at all times if he is pulled over and not to make any sudden moves? How do I explain to him that people will make assumptions about him like he loves fish and is good at math based on his skin color alone? How do I explain to him that certain words like "chink" are meant to hurt him and "keep him in his place"? Will he believe it when I tell him people like that are the ones with the problem or will he internalize it and grow up not liking himself? And why is it at this date and time these are STILL things that have to be explained to a young boy whose mind has yet to be polluted by others...until the other day.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
What is it about Americans? Why does there seem to be this national obsession for constant change and wanting more? What ever happened to being happy with what you have? Finding contentment in what is instead of what isn't?
Over the years I have been guilty of the ME syndrome and have known many others who have fallen victim to its hold. So we work harder, get more degrees, and new toys in a false attempt to make ourselves feel better. But all of this comes with a price which is fine if you are single for you are paying the price alone. But what about when you have children?
Interestingly, it seems to me that Americans seem to convientely forget the fact that after you have children it isn't about ME anymore, it is about THEM. That sometimes you have to put dreams on the shelf for a little while, that work/relationships/recreation won't always be what we imagined and that personal sacrifice is called for when you become parents. Face it, you no longer can expect a perfect life or to get your way all the time. That kind of attitude is fine when you are single but has no place when you are married with children.
Unfortunately the ME in all of us tends to forget that there will always be a better job with better pay, a more understanding/sexy/loving person, and one more mountain left to climb but at what price? Our children didn't ask us to improve ME they only ask for us to create love and stability for THEM by letting go of the ME WANT syndrome.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not talking about situations where there is abuse in a relationship or where a single mother wants to go from working at McDonalds to becoming a nurse. What I am talking about are all the parents who have the "American Dream" but still keep searching for something better on the backs of their kids. It isn't about, "What can I do for you?" Instead it has become "I'm dissatisfied/I need something more/Life isn't exciting enough/ and Where did the real ME go?" When will people just realize that when you become a parent you give up ME for something better and more important. And that is US. The US that was created the minute you signed up for parenthood.
That is why I am encouraging my kids to delay parenthood until they have gone to college or obtained the material things they want from life. Until they have explored the peaks and valleys that are what we call LIFE and truly understand that there are ebbs and flows throughout our lifetime but that we don't just add more things or leave everything behind when those difficult times hit. The phrase 'Seek And Ye Shall Find' should be the motto of the young hip and single. Not the slogan of the parent.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
It has occurred to me that people put their time and effort into those people/ things that they treasure and those people/things that bring meaning to their lives. Where have you been putting your time and what message is it sending to those around you?