Balanced Melting Pot

Posts Tagged ‘Family’

In this episode of “Kids Say the Darndest Things…”

In Culture, Parenting, Questions, Race Relations on November 23, 2009 at 8:21 pm

On our way to school, my daughter was telling me about a teacher at her school and when she mentioned her name (we’ll call her Mrs. C.), I realized that there was a man at her school with the same last name. This following conversation proceeded:

Me: Are Mrs. C. and Mr. C. were related?

Her: I don’t think so.

Me: Why not? They have the same last name.

Her: Well, Mrs. C. is brown and Mr. C. is pink.

Me: Oh, okay.

Now, I have gone out of my way to keep her from using the societal labels of black or white, so everyone is either pink or some shade of brown. I was glad to see that her impressionable mind still hadn’t been tainted, but I also wanted her to know that people within the same family can be different shades; heck, even different colors.

So, the conversation ended like this:

Me: It doesn’t matter if they are different colors. They can still be family.

Her: WHAT!

Me: Yup. They can be brother and sister, cousins, or husband and wife.

Her: I don’t think they’re married.

Me: thinking *I’m not going to go there right now* Okay, well maybe they’re related in some other way.

Her: Maybe you’re right. I’m going to ask them today.

*sigh* I guess at some point I’m going to have a more in depth conversation with her about race. But until then, brown Mrs. C and pink Mr. C will have to do 😉

At what age do you think it is appropriate to explain American race relations to children?

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Life Abroad

In Culture, Ex-pat, Immigrant Families, Parenting, Questions on August 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Early on in college, I began harboring a passion for international development. My dream was to spend my career working in different developing countries and learn about their cultures. Upon completing my degree, I realized that I was glamorizing the ex-pat lifestyle and there was a lot of commitment needed to succeed in that field (I also got married and had a strange urge to settle down 😉 .

For years after that, I thought that my international bug had fizzled and I had become more realistic about my priorities. Well, lately I’ve started getting that itch again – and for some reason this seems like the right time.

Only now, my concern is how my children will grow up. Already, it is difficult trying keep a healthy amount of Haitian culture in their lives (hence, this blog :-)), and now I would have to juggle three or more cultures. I would like them to remain assimilated to the American culture while away, but I wouldn’t want them to stay completely shielded from the culture of the “host” country. You would think I go around looking for trouble!

Well, I am hopeful that I can achieve this balance. If you have any ideas/success stories on how to do it – please share. If not, I will know that I will be the Neil Armstrong of cultural harmony :-).

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Is there room for improvement?

In Cultural Expectations, Culture, Parenting, Questions, Thoughts on March 30, 2009 at 9:53 am

I watched Spanglish for the fifteenth time this weekend, and the end of the movie sparked a thought that I’ve been having for a while about my expectations for my children. For those of you who have not seen, the daughter, who is narrating her college admission essay, says that while acceptance to the university would mean a great deal to her it would not change who she was; her mother’s daughter. 

We often hear that we are supposed to want our children to “do better” than we did. For my mother, who had to drop out of school at 17 to support her family, I can completely understand where that desire comes from for us. However, I feel that I have been successful in both what my mother wanted for us, as well as in terms of goals that I set for myself.

So, is it fair to expect my children to do better than me? What would that entail? Getting farther in their education, making more money, etc? Can I just hope that they be happier than me?

I admit that I have worked hard for everything that I have and continue to do so. But, I also think that is why I appreciate my life so much. Without my struggles, how would I know that life could be a lot worse?

Am I making sense? What are your thoughts about the expectations of success for [your] children?

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