Unit 5, “Family Ties”: Essential Question

What are the complexities and paradoxes of “family”?

This is an intricate and condensed question that arose one day in a class discussion. It forced me to reflect on literature that focused on family and what I thought about my own people. I realized that sometimes the people who are blood-related to you are some of the people who understand you the least.

Growing up in the greater area of southeast Asia, I was isolated from my family who was grounded in Australia, even more so after my parents got fed up from visiting and having to explain our “international” lifestyle. Their judgment was one of the factors that made me question my identity. I constantly question where am I from? and who am I? While I was an outsider from my family in Australia, I’m also a white woman living in a Chinese influenced city in Asia. I identify more with Chinese people than Australians and the paradox of feeling connected to one culture, but also being judged by my family is what I continue to struggle with.

It’s questionable that while my grandma preaches Romans 14:10 “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…”, she continues to judge me for not identifying with the family. How can I politely explain that I don’t feel connected to what she is most proud of? It’s a complex question to have and creates tension between not only me and my extended family but immediate family and extended. 

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