Luma Simms is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center; her essays and articles have appeared in First Things, Public Discourse, The Federalist, Institute for Family Studies, and other publications.

If You Stumble in the "Success Sequence," a Strong Family Can Lift You Up

From a young age in my Middle Eastern family, it was drilled into us that we must go to college and become either a doctor, dentist, engineer, or lawyer. I dreamed of going to Harvard or another Ivy League school: I fancied it to be the consummation of my assimilation as an immigrant—the door to a bright future. One condition thwarted my dreams: My parents forbade me from going away to college; instead, they wanted me to attend a local university. And so, I stayed home, worked full time in dentistry, put myself through college—and nursed such a bitterness against my parents that it took me 30 years to overcome it.

That bitterness—a grave moral failure on my part—became the source of many foolish decisions. And it was what drove me to get married before I finished college. After marriage came a baby, and still college wasn't done. Life took over and distracted me, and besides, in my mind, Cal Poly was not Harvard, so I did not care. I couldn't see past my bitterness, which darkened my mind, poisoned my heart, and polluted my decision making. In many ways, it rendered me impotent in achieving the customary goals for Iraqi Christian girls, who are expected to finish college before marriage.

Wendy Wang was right when she wrote in her recent Wall Street Journal article that people from the East teach their children the success sequence: Get an education, work hard, get married, and then have children. Immigrants from that part of the world use the freedom and educational opportunities prodigious in America to instruct their children in this success sequence.

Please read the rest at Institute for Family Studies

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