Giving Me the Bricks

Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

“Mom, I want to take the SAT.”

My mom lifted her eyes off the newspaper and looked at me suspiciously. “What on earth is the SAT?” I went on to explain it to her as she stared at me with increasing incredulity, as if I were no longer her daughter but an animal escaped from the zoo. After I had finished, she was still struggling to understand how I got the idea of going to an American university instead of attending one of the local Canadian schools.

I chuckled to myself. In many ways, my mom and dad are the very antithesis of typical Asian parenting. While other Asian parents are fretting about their sons and daughters getting accepted to top-tier American universities, mine are aware of what classes I am taking only at report card time. They have never pressured me to learn the piano or the violin, and I ended up the only Asian child I know of who does not play an instrument. I have never had a tutor, nor have I ever taken a single academic lesson outside of school. They have never forced me to take certain classes or participate in certain activities. I was never banned from the television so that I would do my homework. My parents have never sought to dictate my goals. They have never told me to become a doctor or lawyer or...

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