Growing up, I heard a lot of comments about my family. My mom had to fight for me and my sister in school and stand up to people who questioned our “differences.” Often times, people would talk louder to my parents because they thought that’s how immigrants understand English. They would look at them with impatient looks because it would take them a millisecond longer to think of the word in English. They would smile kindly with a look that said, “hurry up already.” Some would question where we were from and why we lived here. Teachers would tell my sister her name isn’t spelled with a silent “j” in it — that my parents were wrong when they taught her to spell it.
For me, the American Dream means raising my children in a way that embraces differences and celebrates what makes each person unique.
I refuse to raise my kids with hate for other people, for people who aren’t like us. I teach them that different religions, different races, different political view points, different incomes, different cultures are nothing but just that. Differences. Variety. My parents moved here to provide our family with a different kind of life. A life of hope. A life of choices.
I raise my kids with love, with respect, and with happiness. I tell them to be friends with those who show you the same love, respect, and happiness. I teach my kids to learn about other cultures just like others learn about ours. I raise them to understand how beautiful life is in a country where you can learn about so many different cultures and how we should cherish it, not be scared of it.
I teach them every human life is as is equally as important as the other. I want them to treat each other with respect. Why?
Because every life matters.
We are all put on this planet for a reason. Perhaps it’s for curing cancer. Or raising little humans. Or to start a business that employ hundreds of people so they can provide their families. That is why I teach my children to love. We should encourage each other, build each other up, help each other, not hurt each other. This country prides itself on its diversity. That’s what makes us great. That’s what makes America different than the rest of the world.
Our country is the mix of many different countries.
Let’s be that community that looks out for each other. Let’s show those who hate that love really does conquer all. We all have our tribe, but let’s for one second imagine a life where we are one big tribe. The greatness that could come with that kind of solidarity — well, that’s what I pray for.