As a follow-up to my previous blog, how can we have balance our lives and what are the consequences of not having balance?
As immigrants, we are very concerned about work and that is a good thing. But we know that all work and no play leads to burn-out. We also know that all play and no work leads to failure and poverty. We need to connect to family and friends because when life gets tough, it is our family and friends that support us and help get us through. It is all interconnected and needs to be maintained over a lifetime.
I found that friendships take effort and time. People who immigrate to Canada leave behind lifelong friends and family. They need to seek people from their own community or get to know people from other cultures. This means getting out of their comfort zone, exploring, learning a new language, trying out a new lifestyle. This takes courage and experimenting.
Parents lead by example. Do they encourage their children or do they keep to themselves? Do they hold onto their own values, take on values of other groups and give up their own, or decide what to take and what to give up? This is all a process of acculturation.
It has been said that there are 3 types of immigrants:
- those who refuse to accept any of the values of their host country,
- those who reject the values of their country of origin
- those who make informed decisions on what to keep and what to reject
As you can tell, there could be a generation gap between parents who hold onto the values of their country of origin and reject anything new and their children who desperately want to be accepted in their new country. Children need guidance in holding both in balance. As parents, we need to have the wisdom to understand the need of children to belong while at the same time guiding them to make wise decisions. As immigrants ourselves and as counsellors we can help you navigate a balance that works for you and your family.