- By Sam George
- Published 12/20/2006
Sam George is the Executive Director of PARIVAR International - a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America and to the Asian Indian community worldwide. Parivar means family in many Indian languages. Sam George also serves as one of the founding directors of Urban India Ministries
www.UrbanIndia.org Sam George and his wife, Mary have spoken at premarital and family events in many countries. They are parents of two boys and make their home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation: Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians." Check out this website www.CoconutGeneration.com Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) is a metaphor for the Americanized Asian Indians. Sam George can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The ambitious Indian American parents are daily raising the bar for their children - more academic and extra-curricular activities than ever before. Extra math and science classes, advance standing courses…. every parents is trying to make their kids into a prodigy (and into ivy league colleges!). Then soccer, basketball, swimming and Lacrosse (their Indian friends are still figuring out what kinds of a game is that!)
Then there is cultural elements - learning Indian music, Instruments, dances, languages etc. Not to mention faith of their forefathers. Parents often say, “We came to America to provide best of opportunity for our kids. We never had it so good and we want our children to be more successful than us.”
Result is evident all around us: frustration, stress, burn out, depression… even suicidal tendencies. Most children are pushed beyond what they naturally capable of. Also their strength are never taken into account. Often children are forced to achieve the unfulfilled dreams of their parents. Hyperscheduled, superbusy kids, taking university classes at jr. high etc are all too common among Indian Americans. And many are paying a high price.
Psychologists tell that children should be allowed downtime, free play and simply hang out with friends. The second generation in most cultures are less motivated and success oriented as compared to their immigrant parents. Due to their extra academic pressures, often they have no time for church or faith related activities.