AUTHOR: MM TITLE: Todays Challenge... DATE: 7/15/2008 02:26:00 PM ----- BODY: I just read a post on CityMama that made me laugh and sigh at the same time. The mama behind the blog, Stefania Pomponi Butler, is on vacation in Hawaii and described an incident at the pool where a young guest splashed her mom. The scene unfolding was one I could envision in my head clearly, right down to the course of action by the mother of the child in question. It's not something you see very often any more and definitely a cultural nuance. I wonder if I would feel less conflicted at times if we were around Asian families. I know the Asian culture is where my gut sense of discipline comes from--not so much in the traditional sense which can be very condescending at times but just the basis of respect. Growing up, we never called adults by their first names--it just wasn't done. I hear my three year old asking for our next door neighbor by name and I cringe. My husband has done a good job of reinforcing the Mr. or Ms. in front of a first name even when he greets his friends and that helps but it's still not quite the same. I'd prefer my kids to call the adults they are around on a regular basis "Auntie" and "Uncle" but as much as I try to get that in, it hasn't stuck and raises some eyebrows. I'd rather be called "Auntie" but that raises eyebrows as well so I try to throw it in with the appropriate situation and try not to confuse my kids! I'm realizing I don't have any Asian friends out here in Chicago. Do I seek them out? And if so, how do I do that? Or, do I just get my "fix" by taking the field trips out to the burbs to go food shopping? That seems to be working--sort of. At least it gives my kids a sense of differentiation and a little variety in the people they interact with. There needs to be an alterative way though and I'm open to the challenge of discovering what that is.

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-------- AUTHOR: MM TITLE: Todays Challenge... DATE: 7/15/2008 02:26:00 PM ----- BODY: I just read a post on CityMama that made me laugh and sigh at the same time. The mama behind the blog, Stefania Pomponi Butler, is on vacation in Hawaii and described an incident at the pool where a young guest splashed her mom. The scene unfolding was one I could envision in my head clearly, right down to the course of action by the mother of the child in question. It's not something you see very often any more and definitely a cultural nuance. I wonder if I would feel less conflicted at times if we were around Asian families. I know the Asian culture is where my gut sense of discipline comes from--not so much in the traditional sense which can be very condescending at times but just the basis of respect. Growing up, we never called adults by their first names--it just wasn't done. I hear my three year old asking for our next door neighbor by name and I cringe. My husband has done a good job of reinforcing the Mr. or Ms. in front of a first name even when he greets his friends and that helps but it's still not quite the same. I'd prefer my kids to call the adults they are around on a regular basis "Auntie" and "Uncle" but as much as I try to get that in, it hasn't stuck and raises some eyebrows. I'd rather be called "Auntie" but that raises eyebrows as well so I try to throw it in with the appropriate situation and try not to confuse my kids! I'm realizing I don't have any Asian friends out here in Chicago. Do I seek them out? And if so, how do I do that? Or, do I just get my "fix" by taking the field trips out to the burbs to go food shopping? That seems to be working--sort of. At least it gives my kids a sense of differentiation and a little variety in the people they interact with. There needs to be an alterative way though and I'm open to the challenge of discovering what that is.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Zip n Tizzy DATE:7/16/2008 07:13:00 PM I have my son signed up for Tae Kwon Do and I love that Sir and Ma'am are enforced. My son brings it out of class with him, and because it's so rarely used anymore I find it very refreshing. I also find that they get a lot of smiles when they use it and people tend to like them better. Manners do count. Nice post. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger bokumbop DATE:7/18/2008 08:47:00 AM Just to help you out, being new to the area - if you're seeking more real-life Asian community (hope Korean is okay!), some of the KM community have started to meet up.

http://kimchimamas.typepad.com/kimchi_mamas/2008/06/open-thread-t-1.html#comments

Meetup.com may have other groups for Chinese moms. Other than that, if you'd like to seek out more Chinese-American families, consider a Chinese church (if you're comfortable with that - I never feel right about going to a Korean church). Me, I feel so awkward in these "forced" meetings, I tend to shy away - I remember one commenter saying, just because you're all Asian, you can't put all these people in a room together and just expect the "magic" to happen. Hope you find the support you need. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger PMG Smith Family DATE:7/18/2008 12:49:00 PM I know exactly what you mean about the asian hierarchy of respect for elders. My husband is caucasian and it drives me craxy that all of his nephews/nieces call any of their aunts or uncles directly by our names, not even "Aunt --" and I have no idea how to correct it or how to explain to my husband that it bothers me and I don't want our son speaking like that to the adults in his life. I'm afraid to come off as eccentric or nit picking [momnesia prevents me from thinking of the actual word I'm looking for here, but I'm sure you know what I mean]. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger MM DATE:7/18/2008 03:15:00 PM It's good to know I'm not alone. What strikes me as odd is that most of the kids I grew up with, regardless of race/culture respected their elders. "Auntie" was also common in the Hispanic cultures as well but I don't think as popular anymore. We were expected to behave and knew how to or face whatever consequences...

I know no one wants to to be neurotic (or eccentric :)) and constantly remind our kids about their manners but I think in good conscious, we have to.

Feel free to sound out on my blog--it really is good to know that there are other mixed families/parents that are still "old school!" ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger blackbelt_oma DATE:7/19/2008 12:58:00 PM I totally agree with the respect thing. I explain to adults who want my son to call them by their first name that he is not allowed, and they all seem to respect that.

You know, words have meaning. Words have power. (If you are a Christian, I like to relate it to Christ being The Word.) It's not "just" manners. How we speak should reflect how we feel. What is it they say? the first step to recovery is admitting. That tells you that saying words that are true DO something. They heal.

And if we don't always feel it, speaking a certain way helps us to see things differently. If you feel ungrateful, try listing the good things in your life and see if you attitude doesn't change! :-) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger PMG Smith Family DATE:7/28/2008 12:40:00 PM After reading this post, I finally brought up the idea to my husband that I don't think it's appropriate for kids to call adults by their first names. I said it's a matter of respect and said specifically that I want our son to call his aunts and uncles "Aunt so-and-so" or whatever. He said we can do that but he won't correct our son if he doesn't and he doesn't think it's a matter of respect to tag "Aunt" or "Uncle" on -- that it's the same as calling your cousin Joe "Cousin Joe" when speaking to him, which is awkward. And then he tried saying he didn't have an opinion on it BUT he didn't think it was a big deal. He even seemed to think I was being eccentric in noticing and feeling uncomfortable that none of his nephews/nieces call me "Aunt." *sigh* At least I'm not alone? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger MM DATE:7/30/2008 09:31:00 AM You are not alone! Keep us posted of how things go! Crossing those cultural barriers/nuances can be hard. Good for you for doing that with hubby! ----- --------