Lovey Loverpants sent me an article today, with a message that summarily said "This could have been me." The article is essentially about the troubling disconnect between Vietnamese teenagers and their immigrant parents, and how rampant gang violence and drug use among the teens are forcing this population to take a long look at itself. And Lovey Loverpants, the son of Asian immigrants who still work all night to get their work done, he could have pitched this article. Lovey Loverpants, a boy who grew up to become a therapist, a profession that his parents did not understand for so long -- he could have written the article without interviewing another source.
This disconnect is important because no one talks about it. This disconnect is particularly endemic to Asian cultures. Yes, I said it. Because no one was saying it after the Virginia Tech shootings. No one asked if the parents of the shooter - who hailed from Korea - knew exactly how broken their son was before they sent him to college. I haven't seen any books hit the shelves recently about how it's damn hard to be an immigrant and to work tirelessly to give your children a better life, but how all that means nothing if you don't make yourself accessible to your child.
I have tremendous respect for the culture of my in-laws, the culture that gave my husband his roots. I wouldn't have attended a Korean church for six years if I did not. But I take issue - in a way that might make me sound entitled - with sacrifice that sacrifices too much. I object to working to get ahead when the hearts of your children are left behind. I get downright huffy when I hear about language barriers as viable excuses for not connecting with one's kids.
I know I've been a parent for all of five minutes, and even if I wanted to connect with my kid, she doesn't exactly possess the vocabulary to tell me how she's feeling. But if I'm allowed to have a few tirades in this life, I think this is one of the ones I'll pick. It may take a village to raise a child, but sometimes the villagers are scary. I really hope I have the wherewithall to keep mine close to my tent for as long as possible, and to know what she's up to in her little cubby before she ventures out into the village....