Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Why Family Dinner is So Important? October 19, 2011

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 4:30 pm
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Do you have dinner with your family at least few times every week? I know life gets busy. Nobody is around at the same time any more. Everyone keeps their own schedules and eats at different times. But what does it take to do family dinners together? Read on to find why that is important.

It is not just about gulping down food or learning table manners. But dinner time is proving to be very critical family time and means to pass on values to the next generation.

Dinner time is where we share our values, what happened to us during the day, our hopes and fears. It’s where we ask questions and learn from each other. This is where we become real, vulnerable to each other, support and help each other copes with real life issues. This is where we do life on life from generation to generation.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University finds that teens who have dinner with their parents three or fewer times per week are four times more likely to smoke, twice as likely to drink, two-and-a-half times more likely to smoke marijuana, and four times as likely to say they will use drugs in the future as those who eat dinner five to seven times a week with their parents.

These findings mirror the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, which is the largest longitudinal study ever done on adolescents. This study has some amazing statistics. Of twelve to fourteen year olds who don’t experience family dinners at least five days a week, 14 percent report drinking more than once a month. That’s kids twelve to fourteen. But for those who have family dinners, it’s cut to 7 percent! Also, 27 percent of twelve to fourteen year olds who don’t have regular family dinners say they think about suicide, compared with only 8 percent of those who do eat with their families. Among seventeen to nineteen year olds, 68 percent without the influence of family dinners have had sex, versus 49 percent of those who have had family dinners.

Take time to have dinner with your family tonight!

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Children of Immigrants June 9, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 3:59 pm
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I read this distrubing story on children of immigrants in  Chicago Tribune. Most of the stories covered were from lower socio-economic class and people south of the US border. But I concur with the struggles of immigrant children and see many similiar trend among Asian Indian community as well.

There is no doubt that immigrant life is hard. But life for the children is even harder. For the later it is social, psychological and spiritual. Being a adolescent has never been easy and it is harder now than ever has been. For immigrant communities, the challenges are multiplied. Need for stability at home and enduring relationship are key to navigating this section of the population into adulthood and responsible citizenry.

When home, church and the nation does not recognize these unique struggles of the next generation, it is tragic. No matter how much of success the immigrant generation are able to achieve,their legacy is short lived. We pay a heavy price thro their marginalization and self destructive behaviors.

Some may say it is not relevant to he Indian America community. We pride in our educational and economic achievement, not to mention our cultural pride. But we are seeing a rise in broken homes, diliquency, drug addiction and gang activities among the second generation of Indian in United States. Many of them come from very educated and successful homes.

When parents are busy pursuing their dreams, children often are neglected and abused in the hand of care givers, neighbors and other relatives. Immigrant parents sacrifice their children on the altar of cultural pride and material accumulationsucces in order to realize their American dreams. Children suffer from loneliness and insecurity, often resulting in confused sense of identity and dwarfed sense of esteem.

When bottom falls out and there are no flicker of hope, some have encounters with God and their life is dramatically transformed. More are falling thro the cracks. Will you stand in the gap?

 

Happiness in Marriage June 3, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 3:09 pm
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Recently a Harvard psychology professor (Dan Gilbert) came out with a book on happiness in marriage. It is called ‘Stumbling on Happiness’. See the report in New York Times or Telegraph. See his blog here.

Among the many distorted views being promoted by this researcher is that children spoil happiness in marriage. How wrong this is. It probably is indicative of the growing selfishness of adults in the western culture. Whether it be marriage or children, our culture is all about what is in for me.

A quote from the book, which gives the slant of the entire book, I guess. “When we have an experience . . . on successive occasions, we quickly begin to adapt to it, and the experience yields less pleasure each time,” he writes. “Psychologists calls this habituation, economists call it declining marginal utility, and the rest of us call it marriage.”

Sure, small kids are lots of work and depletes all our resources – time, energy and money. Couples become child-centric and have little or no time for each other. Raising kids is also very expensive these days and involves much sacrifice. But parenting teaches us some very fundamental lessons in life, other, community, faith and God.

The American experiment is based on ‘pursuit of happiness’ and yet it evades most Americans. As long we are obsessed with ourselves and using (even abusing) others for our own selfish gains, we never will find happiness. Marriage and children makes us other centered. It teaches us to serve other sacrificially. It is the only by finding happiness of others that we find ourselves happy.

Materialism or promiscuity can never give lasting happiness. We must turn to spiritual pursuits and return to finding core of our being. Search for ultimate truth about origin, meaning, end of life. Marriage and children are fundamentally makes us to ask deeper questions about life.