, a very interesting article in the NYT
about second generation Asian American parents (well, one in particular) and some of the challenges they face in trying to pass on their ethnic heritage to their children
(italicized quoted from Minsoo's blog).
For me personally, sometimes I feel like I identify more with Caucasians (non middle-American types who are aware
, if that makes any sense). Hubby and I (well I told him that if I were to spawn his children, he would have to agree to this) decided to hyphenate our childrens' last name, so it reflects its Chinese-Irish (Euro mix) heritage. It's a mouthful, but not so uncommon these days. I definitely tried to make more of an effort with Daughter (oldest) in terms of teaching her some nursery rhymes in Cantonese, how to count, etc., but I kind of don't see the point. No one speaks Cantonese around here, and if she wants to she can learn it later. I do see myself passing on the values of Asian culture, a strong emphasis on going to college and exposing them to many different activities. But I haven't forced them really (well except piano) to do anything, and I tell them as long as they try their best in school, straight A's aren't like required (though preferable). So the children know the odd phrase in Chinese (I constantly refer to oldest daughter as "gah-jeh", which is older sister
when I am talking to Son. Also, there are certain items that I will only say in Chinese because it feels odd to say them in English...weird I know...such as the tv remote control, the back glass sliding door and the little knobby thingy lock on the car door that you use to lock and unlock the car door with).
And of course I expose them to as much authentic Chinese food when I'm in Los Angeles visiting the parents. Then there is Chinese New Year, Moon Festival and many other Asian holidays.
So sadly, "language death" will occur rather quickly in this family, but as I identify myself mainly as American, I don't think it really matters.