By Jean Harley
I have just finished reading Kao Kalia Yang’s book The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir. It is a memoir of a Hmong woman, and the connecting thread throughout the book is her relationship with, and observations of, her Grandmother—her history, what she had been through, what she meant to her family, and her strength of spirit that held the large family together.
While I believe that we are all brothers and sisters spiritually, it is sometimes hard to feel warmth and love for those whose culture seems strange. Lack of true understanding can be a barrier to feeling like brothers and sisters. This book portrays the Hmong culture in such a sensitive way that you feel more intimately connected to what formerly seemed strange.
Many of the people in the book exemplified virtues that we can learn from. They showed great patience, humility, resignation, and acceptance. They lived with little and were able to appreciate small but beautiful things. They worked hard without complaining about difficulties. Family loyalty and companionship were all-important.
As we interact more with others who are from different cultures, we will benefit by observing and experiencing virtues that have been more highly developed or developed differently than our own. We are blessed to live in a day when we can start learning from all the diversity around us. This learning and appreciation will bring together people of all kinds, overwhelming the traditions and prejudices that create separations.
For more ideas about how to create meaningful connections in your life, check out our book, “Now That I’m Here, What Should I Be Doing?: Discover Life’s Purpose”