How do your immigrant parents define success?

Jeff Severns Guntzel
Senior reporter
Public Insight Network

Erika L. Sánchez was born in the United States, but her parents were not. They came across the border from Mexico in the trunk of a Cadillac in 1979 and were laborers, mostly in factories, for their entire working lives. When Sánchez got an office job in Chicago, her parents called that success.

Erika Sánchez

Erika Sánchez

“I don’t have to do physical labor,” she told me, “The fact that I sit in a comfortable chair all day, and I dress up and come downtown. That’s a huge triumph for them. But at the same time, I feel very unfulfilled.”

Are you the first generation to be born in the United States? How do your parents define success for you? How do you define success? I’m looking for your stories.

I’m also wondering what wisdom you’d share with young people with immigrant parents. According to a recent study by the Urban Institute, a quarter of all children under age 8 in America have at least one immigrant parent. What advice would you give these kids as they enter adolescence or a bit further down the line, when they enter adulthood?

I’d be grateful for any thoughts or experiences you can share. Click the link below to see my questions.

>> What do your immigrant parents expect from you?