I’m not a parent yet. I’d like to be, someday (Bae, where you at?). But now, at age 26, I’ve finally started to understand how incredibly difficult it is to be a parent, let alone a supportive one.
My parents are immigrants. Specifically, Arab immigrants. Like most (immigrant) parents, they would’ve loved to see my siblings and I become doctors, engineers or even scientists. Instead, they got me, a wannabe travel blogger, my brother, an aspiring film director, and my sister, a hospitality professional who wants to be a civil officer. Yeah – being a support parent is difficult AF.
Pictured above: Me on my first solo trip after I quit my job.
Recently a good friend of mine told me about the concept of filial piety. To oversimplify it, it means deep respect for one’s elders. Although it’s a concept most closely associated with Eastern culture, it is also prominent in Arab culture. There’s no such concept as “you’re an adult and can do whatever you want” if you’re Arab. I know it. My siblings know it. And my friends who knew me in my first 22 years of life know it.
My parents were incredibly strict and the filial piety cloud has hung over my head for a long time. I understand that my parents want what’s best for me (health, happiness, and stability) although it’s not necessarily what’s good for me (risk, adventure, and dream-chasing).
Luckily for me and unluckily? for my parents, my stubbornness and determination know no end. It may be a double-edged sword, but it is what has led me to live the life I live today.
So many of my parents’ friends like to say “I would never let my daughter travel the way you do.” It’s an unfortunate side effect of this filial piety, I suppose. Many of their children (namely those in their early 20s) don’t feel the need to fight it, either. I’ve seen this phenomenon amongst (young) adults of all nationalities. I understand what it’s like, but I’ve realized that parents will eventually come to respect you for fighting for what you want. Support doesn’t mean “without worry.” It means understanding that you need to do you, for your happiness, not theirs.
So, to my parents: thank you.
Thank you for supporting my dream to travel to the far-flung corners of the earth. Thank you for supporting me when I said I would travel solo.
Thank you for teaching me that travel is the best education.
Thank you for reminding me to know my worth and ask for more.
Thank you for supporting my ultimate decision to quit my job.
Thank you for supporting my career decisions, even though you still don’t understand how I make money as a travel blogger.
My parents may not have always been supportive of my crazy adventures. Although they pretend otherwise, I’m sure they still get anxiety every time I dig out my passport. And I’m pretty sure the day I “settle down” will be the happiest day of my mom’s life. Seriously. But despite all of this, they’re supportive of my decisions because they understand what’s best for me, even if they don’t necessarily like it.
So to my parents, and all the parents out there who support their children’s’ dreams: thank you. We appreciate you and we love you. Thank you for all that you do.
Like this post? Pin it and save it for later!