As you can tell by the title of this article, this question is primarily asked by Peruvian parents. These are people who have migrated to the United States, set down roots, and probably lived here for several years before they had children.
When their children are born, they are faced with a very novel question. In their minds, they can afford to say to themselves that they remain fully Peruvian. In other words, Peru has never really left their hearts. However, the moment they have kids who are exposed to greater American cultures and, in many cases, have forgotten to speak Spanish, the question that is the title of this article becomes a very pressing one.
How do Peruvian parents preserve all the good things about Peruvian culture and history in an American context without putting their kids at a disadvantage?
As much as we hate to admit it, if we were to insist that our children are of a completely different culture while living in the United States, we are putting them at a distinct disadvantage. We really are.
As awesome as Peruvian culture and any other culture may be, there are points of conflict when it comes to the greater American culture, and these points of conflicts can lead to reduced educational attainment, slower occupational progress, and a shorter net worth or income trajectory. In other words, they have a real impact.
So how do we walk this tightrope? How do we remain fully Peruvian and American at the same time?
Well, actually the solution is fairly straightforward. There is a lot to admire about American culture. First of all, they are very open minded, they believe in separation of church and state, they believe in religious tolerance, and they also believe in the power of the individual.
In other words, your last victory can only take you so far. You’re only as good as your ability to produce success the next day and the day after that. This, of course, leads to a mindset that pushes people up and out as far as the results they get out of life.
When you make it a point to produce results day after day, you are engaged in a personal culture of excellence and, eventually, you will get paid what you deserve to get paid because the world loves excellence and hates mediocrity. It hates people who want to produce as little as possible without getting fired.
On the other hand, our Peruvian cultural background gives us a tremendous sense of connection. We are very rooted to the earth, we have a natural rhythm of community and interpersonal harmony. The good news is that by focusing on the Peruvian cultural predisposition to internal harmony, we actually make ourselves better participants of the American experience.
Make no mistake about it, it’s too easy to get caught up in the rat race in the United States and burn yourself out sooner rather than later. On the other hand, when you have a constant connection to this Peruvian cultural predisposition to internal balance and harmony where you keep the main thing the main thing, you get the perspective you need to run the long race and come out ahead without burning out. That’s how you straddle these seemingly incompatible cultures because there is a lot more that unites us than divides us.