ABC: My response, heart to heart


Credit: Elizabeth Zhong

In the latest installment of ABC: American Born Chinese, reporter Jonathan Zhang responds to a comment made on a prior article.

To the person who commented “this is child abuse” on one of my articles about controlling parents,

Let’s talk.

What is child abuse anyway? Well, it’s something outside of the child’s control, something forced onto them by their parent or guardian. ChildHelp defines child abuse as “when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child.”

Let’s break this down. The people at fault, without a question were not my parents. No, the person at fault was me. My parents never forced me to study. They only warned me of the unfortunate, but true, reality of the world we live in — one where I would have to do better academically than my white friends because I was Asian and was going to be compared with other overachieving Asian students. Is it wrong to warn your children about the future hardships they will face so they can prepare themselves?

The second part of ChildHelp’s definition tells us that the child must suffer from injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm. This, without question, did not happen to me. If anything, emotionally, I benefited and matured. I now understand the importance of enjoying life and living my life to the fullest. So, to suggest I suffered from emotional harm, is not true.

Now, let’s talk about what this comment meant to me. When I first saw this comment, I felt confused, and then, shortly after, uncontrollably angry.

I’m incredibly grateful to my parents for all that they’ve sacrificed for me and all that they suffered because of me. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel their compassion and love. From the weary eyes of my father bringing me a bowl of fruit at one o’clock in the morning, to the pain in my mother’s posture as she faces the struggles of a working mom to provide for me and my younger brother, my parents express their love for me not with words, but with their actions.

Part of my passion to succeed is lit from the fire of my parents’ love. They work so hard to let me be who I want to be and lead a happy and successful life. Is it not right for me to want to return the favor? What part of my parents’ love is considered to be child abuse?

And with Thanksgiving having just passed, all I can say is that I’m so thankful for my parents. There aren’t many people in the world who would give everything, do anything and suffer through anything, just for their son’s happiness.

So, thank you Mom and Dad. Thank you for all that you’ve done. Thank you for your hard work. And most of all, thank you for being the best parents a son could ever ask for.

Jonathan Zhang