Junior Lucy Lin talks difficulty of having parental language barrier
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Junior Lucy Lin spends time with her parents just like every other teenager. She goes out to eat with them, talks to them about school and helps at their family restaurant. She also has to be around to translate English into Chinese for them.
“I always have to be available to them and I’m pretty used to it now,” Lin said. “I just try to help with translation and usually I manage my siblings’ activities, such as school projects.”
Lin also has to help translate letters, bank related activities and any maintenance issues with their home.
Both of Lin’s parents were born in China and came to America after their marriage. Lin grew up learning both Chinese and English.
“Knowing Chinese allows me to connect with my family in China, obviously,” Lin said. “It helps me keep a part of my culture that is very hard to connect with in Hays.”
Lin plays a big part in her siblings’ life due to her parents’ broken English. Lin said she has to attend all of their parent-teacher meetings and help with their school activities.
“I always need to be at the middle school or O’loughlin,” Lin said. “Sometimes it interferes with homework and my own activities, so by the time I get home I have no motivation or energy.”
Lin said one of the hardest things about her parents being from China is the social disconnect.
“I wish my parents were a bit more assimilated into this culture,” Lin said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to explain why sleepovers are fun or why I want to go see a movie. Their responses are usually saying that the movies I want to see aren’t ladylike or hanging out with friends is a waste of time. Most peoples’ parents seem to agree on anything that is asked of them.”
While Lin feels pressure, she still feels privileged to have that strong connection with her parents through Chinese. Lin said being taught it was a gift she would like to pass onto her future children one day.
“I think it will be beneficial for them, like it was for me,” Lin said. “I want them to be able to connect and bond with my parents. I don’t want them to grow up disconnected or think little of my parents because they can’t understand them.”