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2017-12-01 17:39
By Grace Oh



Last year when my sister got accepted to an Ivy League school, I joined my parents to celebrate her achievement. Little did I know that it would turn out to be a source of great stress for me. My parents expected me to follow in her footsteps and eventually attend the same school as her. My desires and thoughts were pushed aside, and I no longer had a choice but to follow the designated path.

Although raised under the same rules and roof, I have built different goals and hopes than my sister did. But my parents saw me as a miniature version of my sister. Besides, my parents frequently compared us, and I felt guilty whenever I missed the mark my sister had set. For example, my sister and I played the same sport, and I was always being told, “Look how much your sister is practicing. Why can’t you be more like your sister?” Sometimes, it worked as a motivator for me to go the extra mile, but most of the time it led me to despair or see myself as a failure, “I am not good enough.” Just because we are related by blood, should I think and act like my sister and have the same goals?

I have been living such a life. For instance, whenever I attended a skating competition, the first thing that came to my mind was, “I should impress my parents and make them proud just like my sister did.” Focused on pleasing them, I neither enjoyed skating nor experienced the thrill of competition. After the race, if the results came up short of my expectations (my sister’s record), I would be consumed by worry, “Oh no...what will my parents say about my performance?” This made me care too much about the smallest mistakes. But I could not live by the universal truth that everyone makes mistakes, as long as I worried about, “What will my parents think?”

I was not the only one who experienced such an ordeal. One day in my school bathroom, I saw my friend crouched down in the corner, sobbing. Immediately, I bent towards her and asked, “What happened?” She cried, “I have a B in science class, and I know my mom is going to get mad at me when I get home.” Holding hands, we shared what we had experienced: the immense power and pressure from our parents.

After an exhausting drill, all the skaters were taking a break. Suddenly, a seven-year old skater shot up from his seat when he saw his dad approaching him. In a second, I heard the dad’s thundering voice, “What do you think you’re doing? Go practice on the technique I’ve been telling you about.” Drained of energy, the boy reluctantly stood up and started to skate a lap. Because of his tired legs, however, the boy could not get the technique down to satisfy his dad. I heard the thunder a second time.

Some people call this a clash of the hormones or some described the adolescence period as a time of storm and stress. Regardless of the name, the fundamental question is about ownership. Do parents own their child? Believing they know better than their child, many parents impose their plans or goals on their child as if they own them. I, along with my friend and the young boy, feel that we cannot express our own passions or goals because we are afraid of our ideas being shot down. And we feel that we are obligated to the owner, our parents.

Once we realize that we do not own ourselves, we seek motivation from outside. But it can only take us so far. Do our parents wish us to become like a robot that is programmable and controllable?


Grace Oh (Grace27sw.oh@gmail.com) is a student at the International School, Bellevue, WA.


  • 폰트크기작게
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  • 단어장
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