When I was a kid, I was obedient and quiet. I automatically knew that talking too loud, making a fuss or being assertive would never fly. I did what I was told.
I was a Chinese girl.
I adhered to my parents' wishes that I get top grades and perform well in the activities they had chosen for me.
But after all the hours of homework, grueling afternoons of practicing arpeggios on the piano to perfection, four hours of Chinese school after regular school, Chinese calligraphy lessons with the stiff brush and stinky ink, after the chores, basketball practice and memorization of Chinese poems, eventually I wanted to feel known for myself, not just my accomplishments.
In the song "In My Room," Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys sang, "... Do my dreaming and my scheming, laugh at yesterday." Obviously, he wasn't Chinese.
Kim Wong Keltner is an author, most recently of "Tiger Babies Strike Back," a nonfiction about the parenting style of Tiger Moms.
Causes Kim Keltner Supports