Parents, as you prepare your kids for a new school year, it’s important to realize that your child will look around the cafeteria and see a the kind of variety that we adults didn’t see when we were in school.
In our recent Youth Issue a few weeks ago, in which we ran essays written by Asian American high school students who participated in our Summer Youth Leadership Program, we noticed a common thread. Most of the students were preoccupied with the generational gap between them and their parents. Many wrote about how their parents do not empathize with the stresses they are under, how parents have unrealistic and seemingly unfair academic expectations carried over from Asia.
We generally view those comments as youthful arrogance, which every young person is allowed. We hope that it develops into tempered adult confidence.
Today, about one-third of people in King County are people of color. However, about one-half of those who are under 18 years old are people of color, according to the U.S. Census. This means that in the coming years, our population will experience a profound, and diverse, shift.
Of course, we see this as an ultimately good thing. However, it may bring about some challenges that we need to prepare for, such as changing values.
This is why we want to give some much needed support to all the struggling parents out there. You are right to have high expectations for your children.
We also want to give some words of advice to all those 18 and under: It’s important not to take things for granted. Before coming to this country, many immigrants had to work extremely hard to be able to go to school. In some places, boys were the only ones allowed an education. Girls had to stay home and take care of the households. It’s a luxury that basic education is free in this country.
A word we often hear from kids these days is “boring.” They say, “This class is boring,” “This speaker is boring,” or even, “This food is boring.”
Boring is a poisonous word. Stop saying it. And when you think about how boring your food is, realize that for every meal you eat, there is a child somewhere who is not getting a lunch or a dinner.
In this country, it’s easy for young people to feel entitled. Some think that parents have to buy them cars.
Parents, it may be tempting to give your kids everything they say they need, but remember that the best gift you can give to your children is instilling in them the value of hard work. Let your child have a part-time job, even if it’s just babysitting. Have your children pay for their own clothes or school supplies sometimes.
We know a single mother who had a son that begged for fancy new shoes. Rather than buying them for him outrightly, she cut a deal. She said, “You buy one shoe and I’ll buy the other one for you.” They effectively split the cost and she instilled the value of money in her son. (end)