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Asian parents expectations

Ken Liu attended the LeadNow conference and surfaced some issues in ministering to Asian American young adults (20-30’s):

Perhaps one of the biggest issues Asian Americans (AAs) have to face is parental expectations. I don’t know what the stats are for AAs, but I’m willing to bet that the average age for marriage among AAs is much higher than the national average. From my observation, academics, career advancement, and financial stability must come first. To pursue marriage while in school or early stages of career development is usually frowned upon even though for many of our parents did the very same thing! Such priorities and expectations take our AA young adults from school to school and city to city which is obviously not conducive towards finding a mate. On top of that, for Christians, there are so few AA churches that serve this demographic.

After a period of time, the parents start bemoaning the fact their kids aren’t married yet without realizing that they are just as culpable. With these pressures and unfair expectations in mind, how do we create and cultivate a community that meets their needs and connects people to one another?

Would it be too easy to say that therefore we need more next generation Asian American churches?


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4 responses to “Asian parents expectations

  1. elderj

    the Black church has an epidemic of marriage- less-ness that is going entirely unaddressed and is having serious economic, social, and spiritual consequences. Though there are other factors at play, the pressure of securing oneself academically and financially before even contemplating a serious relationship is certainly a factor, especially for young Black women, many of whom find themselves becoming established in a career and yet socially and professionally isolated from potential mates.

    In the AA community the high out marriage rates for women mean that there is more “competition” for AA women that AA men have to contend with, whereas in the Black community it is women who feel themselves on the out.

    As more women enter university (already more Black women than men graduate – I wonder what will happen with AA women) and marriage continues to be delayed, I wonder what the long term consequences will be for the stability of AA families – the very thing that has made possible high academic and economic achievement.

  2. I think one larger questions is whether and AA church is what would best serve this generation of folks or if an organic multicultural setting is the way to go. Start churches in multiethnic neighborhoods and the mix could happen. Of course issues of class may rear its ugly head, but we better model the realities of the their lives.

  3. Joseon_Illin ⋅


    Interesting points you make. According to this study,, the ‘competition’ and high out-marriage rates for women you mentioned are true and seem particularly more pronounced in the 2nd gen. Korean-American community.

    What surprised me, though, from the study were, also, the high out-marriage rates for the 2nd. gen. Korean-American and Asian-American men.

    With so many men and women in the Asian-American community in cross-cultural and interracial marriages I think one of the biggest things that the Asian-American church needs to think more about is how do we serve those involved in inter-cultural and interracial marriages.

    Right now it looks like most Asian-American churches I’ve seen don’t really address this issue that much even though it’s so out there and apparent to anybody in the Asian-American community…

  4. peterong

    well, another phenomenon that the APA Church seems to be embarrassed to talk about it is the number of the second and third generation adults live at home with the ‘rents. I am not sure if there is a study out there but I find that in my “personal survey” of APA Christians, I find that a lot of them live at home when they are single. I think one of the problems that for us to cut “apron strings” and not fall into this cycle of enabling this “parent as my surrogate” mind thought.

    I know that this is also a geographic area and there was a study recently released that the international rate for Asians is growing while Asian Americans are steady and much lower than the mainstream rate. So I feel that when they DO decide to say “I DO” it is more serious….but I am not sure if it is muddled by the shame based Asian Culture or something else…

    But thanks again DJ for starting this discussion. As usual, you always challenge us to think…and reflect and hopefully act…

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