In a delightful post in NYMag.com, Beejoli Shah portrays the challenges a young person faces in America when she comes from an Asian culture of arranged marriages such as her parents had back in the 70s. The first thing that struck me was that her mother seems to have accepted her daughter choosing her own marriage mate through the American institution of dating. Beejoli then humorously portrays herself as a very boy crazy girl growing into a romance obsessed young lady, all the time sharing her travails with her mother. Her mother somewhat surprisingly seems to be the very model of a mother who keeps the lines of communication fully open between her and her adventurous daughter by restraining herself from attempting to berate or control her high-spirited daughter. Rather, at the appropriate time, mom shares pithy observations about the realities singles face in the American find- your- future- mate- through- dating world. Mom’s advice seems amazingly spot on through the years of her daughter’s delightedly becoming fascinated with first one exciting male then another. It seems that Beejoli needs to learn everything by experience, with mother by contrast seeming to have the uncanny ability to learn all the same lessons, not by having to personally experience them, but by keen observation. I call that wisdom.
Even though daughter doesn’t seem ready to accept mom’s advice before diving headlong into the next questionable relationship, she shows great wisdom in keeping open the lines of communication with mom and in willingly recognizing each time mom’s observations prove eerily accurate. Parents who come from arranged marriage cultures face a real challenge in how to respond to their own children being so strongly influenced by the dating and mate selection behavior of their American peers. Beejoli’s mom seems to portray one of the more successful ways of responding to this powerful challenge. Perhaps mom should also be writing a blog, obviously being of help to dating singles but also likely offering some real understanding and support for other parents, especially those in arranged marriages, navigating these treacherous waters with their adventuresome children. Can we hear from mom?