Kinny with her father at college graduation
My parents decided to immigrate to the U.S. in 1991 so that my brother and I could have a more progressive education and be freed from the pressure that accompanies entrance exams in the Taiwanese school system. We moved to Montgomery County, a suburb of Washington, DC, to be closer to relatives living nearby and take advantage of its first-rate public schools.
Unfortunately, for financial and professional reasons, my dad stayed behind in Taiwan so that he could support our family expenses and continue his medical practice. From third-grade on, I spent four weeks with my dad each year—two weeks during my summer vacation and two weeks during the holiday season. Needless to say, my father missed many Kodak moments—my ballet performance or my brother’s band recital—while we were growing up. However, that’s not to say that he wasn’t an involved parent. Before the Internet age (wait, my dad still doesn’t know how to use e-mail), we would talk to my dad over the phone several times a week. On most days, we’d call him before we had to go to bed, just as he’s getting ready to go to work. He would ask if we’ve brushed our teeth, completed our homework and obeyed my mom—the usual dad stuff. With our fax machine, I’ve even sent my homework for him to check. Knowing how much my dad sacrificed to provide for us drove me to push myself in school.
Male involvement can come in many shapes and forms—start by showing that you care even if you cannot be around physically. It can go a long way in a child’s life. Please vote for National PTA’s Million Hours of Power in the Pepsi Refresh project so that together we can increase male involvement.
– Kinny J. Mu is the Resource Development Manager for National PTA based in Alexandria, VA. Her parents, Ting Hui and Bor Jang, currently live in Taiwan.