The photos for this blog series are from a beautiful centuries old mountain road in Yanmingshan National Park 陽明山國家公園 just outside of Taipei. My husband’s Taiwanese relatives planned a wonderful weekend on the mountain during the Mid-Autumn Festival. We packed into two vans and hiked and smelled the sulphur of the dormant volcano and ate and ate some more. This well worn road was used for hundreds of years by Taiwanese fisherman. They would walk from the coast at the very north of the island (seen in this photo in the distance), and over the mountains to trade their fish with neighboring towns.
Standing on that mountain, sweating profusely with my toddler on my back, I felt the weight of my husband’s cultural heritage stretching back generations. His family has a dozen red hardback books in their dining room china cabinet that includes their family’s genealogy going back centuries! My own family is not as close to their cultural heritage. I know my great grandparents names but that’s about it.
I continue to feel this responsibility to pass down, along with my husband, the language, history and culture to the next generation. It sometimes feels like a burden and I can get anxious that we aren’t doing enough or doing it right as a non-Asian mom (especially in the language department!)
But then I realize that the parts of our cultures that I love most and want to pass down the most are all GIFTS. They are not burdensome at all! It is a joy to teach my daughter Mandarin and have her face light up when she connects a new word with its meaning. I am so proud when my daughter tells a stranger, “did you know I’m Chinese?” and then proceeds to tell them about how she lived in a skyscraper in Taipei (It was not. We lived on the 12th floor!) I am delighted to see her offer anyone older than her a snack first and then eat it herself last (when she remembers!)
Being a multicultural family has always been a gift. Keeping this perspective helps me temper any feelings of being overwhelmed and encourages me to continue to CELEBRATE our family’s cultural heritage any chance we can get.
Practical Application Idea:
Consider planning a play date with a friend or two that is centered around one of the family’s cultural heritage. Make it simple and low key! We just joined another family for a play date around the Lunar New Year. The kids colored Year of the Rooster coloring pages and helped us wrap dumplings.
- If you are hosting, its a great way to show your child the gift of their heritage. They can take pride in sharing a part of themselves with their friends. And what child doesn’t love Show and Tell?! Invovle them in planning a simple craft or preparing a simple snack that want to share with their friends.
- If you are participating, this is a wonderful opportunity for your child to learn from their friends about other countries and cultures and increase their curiosity in the world!
Would love to hear from you in the comments or on Instagram about your own experiences with the gifts that come with being in a multicultural family!