Monday, November 2, 2009

Liberians in America, Part 4, The New Generation

"The community provides a sense of cultural identity to be able to instill certain cultural values; for example, hard work, dedication, respect for your father, your mother, the elderly, these are values that really help to make an individual a good person." -- Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor, Liberian teacher.

This fourth installment in my five-part series about the Liberian diaspora explores the challenges Liberians face raising their children in America.

Rather than having just one meal per day -- a common diet for many a Liberian child – the children of Liberians in America often just want to eat junk food. Rather than praying to go to school, or having barely enough money to afford a pencil, the children of immigrant Liberians often complain about their schoolwork.

Rather than showing the traditional respect for their parents, many young Liberians in America talk back to them.

They also have many more opportunities to succeed in their schooling, and most are free of worries about basic survival. They live between two cultures, and they are forcing their parents to adapt as well.