I finally am almost done with the essay for the Mothering Across Cultures anthology. The feedbacks I have received have been very beneficial and I am now waiting for more feedbacks. Writing that essay has really opened my eyes to the matter of raising children in a different culture.
In the course of asking for critiques from hubby, one thing did come out; a concern over our children’s marriages. I wasn’t able to write on this issue in the essay because of the word limit, as I chose to focus on food and language, but I managed to mention the topic of Malay heritage and cross-cultural marriage towards the end.
Hubby expressed his concern over the possible further loss of our Malay heritage down the line. As of now, we’re already losing a chunk of our Malay heritage, since the kids don’t even speak Malay much or behave like a typical Malay, which to me personally, has its pros and cons. When they marry, regardless of whom, the loss will be further exacerbated. I was rather surprised that hubby has this concern, and as I thought about it, I began to understand his concern.
In the beginning, I was the stubborn typical Malay, not willing to budge and change the way I do things. He was the one who opened me up to accepting some changes where changes are necessary, when it comes to the practice of Islam. Having lived here in the United States for 11 years, we have been duly exposed to the stark raw form of Islam that is not tainted by cultural practices, some even paganistic rituals. Alhamdulillah for that. The thought of our children marrying cross-culturally never really bothered us, or at least, it never really bothered me. As long as they marry good practicing Muslims, I’m happy.
But I do understand the sentimentality associated with the possible loss of our Malay heritage. If they marry non Malays, the loss is great. If they marry Malays, they themselves, might not be Malay enough for their Malay spouses. There is still a loss of Malayness there. A friend sugggested a solution, which makes a lot of sense, but I will not limit them to that choice only. In the end, the choice to marry whomever rests on the individual who is to be married. I’ll let the kids decide, and may Allah guide them and us parents in this matter. Ameen.