For further thought and discussion: this New York Times article about second-generation Asian American parents teaching their heritage to their kids. (thanks, Angry Asian Man) The first couple paragraphs, in particular, echo a conversation I once had with Lipby should we have kids.
For myself, it is still my goal that I learn Japanese to the point that I’m fluent, but even in my own life, my language skills aren’t reinforced. In my job, I read in a host of Western languages. When I speak to my parents, we may begin a conversation in Japanese if I specifically ask to, but our communication quickly degrades into some weird Japanese-English hybrid. Unlike the parents in the article, I would relish taking language classes with my child.
I imagine the easiest way to transmit a culture for me is through food. I’ve learned a lot of the traditional dishes from my mom– I need to make sure she teaches me a few more while she’s still alive. But to learn the intangibles of an ever-changing culture while living in a different one? Not to mention helping to instill confidence in a child of mixed races in country still evolving to accept multiculturalism? I haven’t yet figured out how to approach these issues.