YouthVoice – Wisdom Drops from Jace Windu
What is it like to be growing up in the United States for children of immigrant parents? How do those youth cope, especially when they have little contact with the culture their parents came from? What the following words reflect is one boy’s experience. This boy is my godson, my cousin. Jace Windu, his chosen pseudonym, is a 12 year old boy who loves freely and laughs often, but most often, his life is one of work and extreme pressure. Here is his perspective:
What does it feel like to be you in the world today?
It’s hard. It’s difficult to explain. In some ways challenging. But it’s ok. And sometimes really fun, like today. I guess that’s it.
What’s the challenging parts?
Being frustrated with school work, with my parents, with my home. With all the problems in general.
Do you feel like you have a lot of responsibility?
I feel like I do, because most people my age would not even come close to what i know or what I do or how I act. So ya, I think I have a lot of responsibility
Do you like that responsibility?
IN a sense, ya, I do because I know I’m growing as a person and as an adult. I’m becoming more of an adult because in this last year, I began to think more like an adult. LIke a kid would think about Sponge Bob and toys and Legos, and stuff like that. And now I just think more like how I end up in the future, and I need to study more, and I need to make the right choices.
How much fun do you get to have as a 12 year old?
Well, I’m certain that if I wasn’t as adultish as I am, I’m probably the only one who does all the things that I do, that I would get to have a lot more fun and get to hang out with friends a lot more. But sometimes, I do have fun. It’s not like my life is totally boring, sad and hard and totally bad. I enjoy playing my instrument. I enjoy wrestling even though it’s hard, it’s tiring and stuff. I enjoy that. It’s fun.
Do you think there’s a big cultural disparity between how your parents raise you and how other “American” parents raise their children?
Yes I do. My dad is more like a strict person than most other dads would be. I’m not saying that every dad’s not non-strict, but most people aren’t like my dad is. And my mom too. I think that’s the main thing.
So what does it mean to be an adult to you?
I think an adult is a person, not necessarily always mature, but most of the time mature and doing the right things. That knows how to act and be respectful of education and knowledge. And know how to balance life between work, fun, education and other stuff, and workouts and exercise and eating healthy and helping the planet and nature.
What are some experiences that have made you who you are?
Helping my dad is the main one because I get to grow a lot and know more stuff about working that 99.99 percent of other people do not know. Like, at least I know the basics of how to drive a car, and even stick shift. And it wouldn’t take me very long to realize how to actually drive correctly. And also, that my dad raised me with the intention of making me a healthy, good person that’s smart, and I think he’s done that successfully because I know a lot and even when I don’t study, I do good. (And most of the time I do not study!) Experiencing something and then going back and realizing if I could have done better, what I would’ve have done and what I’m going to do next time if I do something like that.
What do you need from the adults around you?
I think I need knowledge, advice and guidance. Like, in a sense, I need them to make me choose, but for me to experience it for myself. To guide me in a way, but not to totally force me.