Jian Ping, the author of the Mulberry Child memoir, grew up in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Her father was one of the victims. The reason she came to the US was to provide a better life for her daughter. However, her daughter grew up to become a member of “The Sex and the City” generation and resisted learning what life was like for her mother in China.
Ping could not express her feelings to her daughter, who was taking life for granted and feeling she was entitled to the lifestyle so many young Americas take for granted today.
What I learned while researching “Mulberry Child” was that many privileged young people in America may be cursed to repeat history because they are taking life for granted as if they were entitled to the world their parents worked so hard to create.
In fact, most children in America have no concept of what life was like in the US less than a hundred years ago when children were mostly treated as adults and faced severe punishment such as mutilation, slavery, servitude, torture, and death—the US has a long history of treating children this way. Source: Child Labor in U.S. History
No matter what storm comes, you must be strong!
To understand Jian Ping’s struggle with her daughter Lisa, it helps to know what Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today, Why Chinese Mothers Really are Superior. “On average,” Dr. Twenge wrote, “Asian parents use more discipline and insist upon hard work more than Western parents. And on average, their kids do better…”
“Mulberry Child” (the documentary) takes an in-depth look at the relationship between a mother and daughter revealing the disconnect that often takes place between immigrant parents and their American raised/born children.
Do not underestimate the negative influence of children raised to have a strong sense of self esteem.
In America, the children of immigrants are often influenced by these peers, which prepares them to become members of the “Sex and the City” generation believing they are entitled to a privileged life and that happiness is guaranteed. Most American children have no concept of how unrealistic this attitude of entitlement is.
However, it is not easy for the older generation to teach their children and grandchildren how difficult it was to survive and reach America and how much hard work and sacrifice it took to succeed once they arrived.
To understand what happens when the children born/raised in the US are disconnected from their immigrant parents/grandparents, America’s children should take the same journey Lisa’s mother provided through her memoir and the documentary of “Mulberry Child”.
Continued on July 3, 2012 in The Sex and the City Generation and the Mulberry Child – Part 2
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.