As a young Filipina daughter, growing up in a large Asian household was not easy. Like at all. I’m sure many of us have experienced those instances of being nagged on for grades, looks, personality even, but these moments did not go without le ssons to be learned. Even the moments where it was obviously my fault continue to teach me lessons today.
In the first grade, I was not exactly the type to socialize and make friends, but younger me was generally attention-seeking when it came to showing off school supplies. The Scholastic Book Fair was around the corner, and I asked my mom for money in order for me to buy all the “cringey” and short romance novels I could possibly want. She gave me twenty dollars, but twenty dollars could only buy me two books and a dried-up pen. So, that night, I sneakily grabbed fifty dollars from my grandma’s dresser, not knowing that it was money that belonged to my family’s market business. The very next day, I bought at least twenty books, a few pens, and even the calculator that smelled like chocolate and was shaped like a chocolate bar. Little me was very smug, proudly holding the heavy plastic bag filled with books I was about to bring home to my parents, but I forgot one little detail… the receipt. My mom wondered where I even got the fifty dollars from, and I eventually was busted for my crime. Later that night, my entire family including all my uncles and aunties sat around me in a circle and tried to come up with the proper punishment for me. I was traumatized as the intervention lasted for three hours, and I cried for most of that time.
What I Learned
Looking back at what I did, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I harshly learned a very valuable lesson of honesty from my Asian family as they made me return all the books I bought, even the chocolate calculator that I wanted to keep. I had to apologize to my grandma for swindling her, and I had to always tell my mom exactly how much money I had every day from that point forward.
The most difficult punishment in my eyes though, was praying to God and admitting to him the sin I committed, because “no Asian daughter is good without God’s guidance” is what my parents used to tell me. I still carry these values to this day, yet looking back at this instance helps me realize how much of a troublemaker I was back then. I still am a “good, Filipino daughter” in my family’s eyes, but I wonder if they would still accept me for all the flaws I hold and for the future mistakes I will make.