As a parent, your job from the minute your child is born is to create an exit ramp away from you. It’s what has to happen, it’s what must happen, it’s what every parent wants to have happen…and yet at the same time you find that you long for what was. – Beth Greenspan
I think I hold a bias against my own race. I’m not even sure why I became an opponent of filipino child rearing. But I’m feeling broody and I’d like to vent.
But first, an example of a conversation that RARELY (if ever) happens within a Filipino family:
[Clip from HBO’s Girls – Episode 1]
But if only conversations like this did happen in our households…I bet some of the young filipino adults I know wouldn’t be an unambitious, hive-minded, tepid bunch.
Sheltered = Stagnant
Why doesn’t our culture place importance on autonomy & independence? Why can’t we see how unhealthy a sheltered lifestyle is? Why is self-sufficiency & independent thought deemed a weakness…taboo?
We’ve been ingrained with a subservient nature from our parents & generations before them. It’s groupthink. It’s collective consciousness. It’s the hive-mind. We choose to go with the flow and be comfortable; it’s easier to float downstream than to struggle against it.
Self-sufficiency & independence are never emphasized in the Filipino culture. A fire was never lit under our asses to be self-sustaining. That’s probably why we’ve never truly learned how to push ourselves…because there was always someone/something to fall back on. Of course, there are exceptions…but in general…most of our generation has been raised this way. We’re babied. We’re doted on. We’re still being taken cared of. We’ve evolved into a bunch of self-entitled, overly-dependent, spoiled brats who are cookie-cutter cutouts of the next Filipino kid. No one stands out. It happens generation in, and generation out.
I bet if we decided to follow our own paths instead of being told what to do (or just following the pack) there would be more Filipinos in the realms of tech, finance, government, art, fashion or business instead of defaulting to the medical field. Most of the filipino kids I know who are currently in college today are taking…you’ll never guess…NURSING. Why aren’t there any Filipinos aiming to be the next Steve Jobs? Why aren’t we trying to outdo Bill Gates? Why aren’t we doing TEDTalks? Why aren’t we on Wired magazines? Why aren’t buildings, monuments, banks, establishments named after us? What is it about our nature that allows us to be content with just good enough? But I digress.
I truly believe it starts in the home. And if I could offer some advice to any new parents out there who are willing to bring about a more liberated, individualistic generation of Filipino children –> Give your kids enough freedom & autonomy to gravitate towards what their strengths or passions are. Then foster independence by allowing them the space they need to do it on their own; to figure it out on their own. Don’t smother them…no one can grow in the shade. And stop trying to place your personal agendas or career choices on them. It’s not your life. It’s THEIRS. Finally, grow big enough balls to be able to say to them when the time is right – “NO. MORE. MONEY.”
Light them fires! Trust me…their asses will be grateful down the road.
Note: Thank you mom & dad for not being typical Filipino parents! I love you guys!