Learning to Assimilate Into U.S. Culture: A Talk at Crowell Library Jan. 24

Larry Wong
Larry Wong

In a discussion at Crowell Public Library, the group Partnership for Awareness hopes Larry Wong can assist parents — especially immigrants — learn how to help their children balance the adoption of American culture alongside that of their native country.
Wong, a marriage and family therapist who practices in Pasadena, said he will use the book “Balancing Two Worlds: Asian American College Students Tell Their Life Stories” as the foundation for his discussion at 11 a.m. on Jan. 24.
“We wanted the topic because this is a book that is basically a compilation of essays by Asian-American students, in which they talk about their experience with Asian-American identity,” Wong explained in a phone interview. “Much of it is related to their experience trying to assimilate into American culture when they have a first-generation immigrant experience at home.”
Himself a first-generation American, Wong said he hopes to “form a bridge” for San Marino parents to “understand and recognize that it’s not as straightforward as they might think” for their children to assimilate as American children raised by families from China or Taiwan. Wong, whose children attend San Marino High School, joined PfA as a professional adviser this school year.
“I’ve always been a fan of what they do,” he said.
Wong said his father immigrated to the U.S. in 1949 and worked at a laundromat — at which he lived — to raise enough money to bring his wife and then-three children here in 1964. Wong and his twin brother were born a year later.
“We had to sort of find that balance ourselves, and I think there’s certainly a generational gap with that,” he said. “There are a lot of conflicts I can certainly identify with.”
Wong acknowledged that “parachute kids” often have a difficult time balancing the two cultural identities because of their recent move here and also that families who return to China or Taiwan during summer breaks often add to the stress for children as well.
“That’s where the kids are kind of stuck in the middle,” he said. “The goal is not to make enemies of one another, but to inform the parents hopefully that these are successful kids, but there are issues that parents may not be aware of. Our hope is that those who come will spread the word and everybody can benefit from it. My hope is not to convey judgment of either generation, but just informing, creating some awareness and really hoping families connect better with their kids. They’re going through a lot, balancing those two worlds.”
The discussion, titled “Balancing Two Worlds,” will be in the Barth Room at Crowell Public Library. There will be a Mandarin translator for the event. For more information, visit partnershipforawareness.org.

Leave a Reply