By Uswah Ahsan

Image: freeimages

Image: freeimages

The Immigration Lecture

Every immigrant child has this etched in their brain. This lecture goes as follows:

Kid: Mom, Dad, it’s the last day of school, can I go to my friend’s house?

Father: Your mother and I worked hard to get you to this country. We only came here with ten dollars in our pockets and we had to get entry-level jobs to provide for our children so that they could get the life we hoped for and become doctors, engineers or lawyers. Instead of wasting your time at your friend’s house, you should be studying so that you could live up to your parent’s dreams… and so it goes on.

Yes, we understand how hard you work and appreciate it, but the lecture has no meaning left after it has been repeated dozens of times.

The boy/girl assumption

God forbid if a girl and boy are seen talking to each other – instantly rumours will spread like wildfire.

News Flash for Muslim parents of the world: not every guy is in love with every girl. Your children of either gender will have to eventually interact in this country- teach them their boundaries but don’t go gung-ho over it.

Know thy child’s friends…

This one is special as I’ve had the pleasure of encountering this on numerous occasions. It goes like this:

Kid: Mom, I’m going to Sana’s house…you know my friend from English class?

Mother: Okay, leave me with her number. And her mother’s number. And her father’s number. And her brother’s number. And her dead great aunt’s number. And also the address of all these people, their occupations, age, blood type, the hospital they were born in and their dietary habits.

Okay maybe I’m exaggerating a tad but that’s the gist of it. Muslim kids need to work on building comprehensive directories when they make friends. There is no privacy in a Muslim home, is there?

The double-ended grade speech

Now some immigrant parents love to embrace the western culture by ‘talking about grades’ but old habits are hard to break. A short synopsis of the double-ended grade speech:

Before report cards: ‘You know we love you and we are proud of you no matter what. All we want is for you to try your best and whatever grade you get is fine with us.’

After report cards: ‘What do you mean a 90%? Did we come to this country to see these grades… *insert immigration speech* No using your phone for the next month!’

Shopping with your parents

There is not one day that goes by when I am not thankful that my mom did her Masters in Fashion and her taste in clothing is good. I have friends who show up to school in winter with four layers of mis-matched clothing, two gloves of different colors and shoes that light up when you walk (I’m 16, folks).

Many a times I have sympathized with teenagers with ‘please-earth-swallow-me-whole’ expressions while their mothers question bewildered sales staff if there is a further discount on a $5 sale item. And then they buy $50 worth of stuff you have clearly stated that you’ll never wear. Don’t get me started on the coupons… To top it all up, you can be sure to encounter one of the cool kids from your school shopping at the same place with their friends. That’s right…teenagers shop without their mothers too. It can happen.

Social Media

I miss the time when parents did not know what social media was. At least then you could live without the embarrassing baby pictures, their constant tagging you in every picture, the humiliating comments on your statuses and last but not least…sending your friends a friend request on facebook. That, I shall never understand.

Do you like us or do you hate us?

Immigrant kids love to have guests over for one reason: their parents become nice. As soon as any friend of the family comes over, let the bragging begin!

In front of the guests:

‘My daughter just finished grade 10 with straight A’s! Masha Allah she is so smart!’

‘My son has gotten so tall because he plays basketball after school every day! He is so athletic!’

When guests leave:

‘What do you mean you got an A? Where is the plus? Why didn’t you get 100%?’

‘You spend all day playing basketball and spend no time studying or with your family!’

You can understand why we are a little bit confused…


This is by no means a comprehensive list. The real list is constantly being updated in our collective conscience and it is endless. In reality, we love our parents and respect them. This article was only written to produce loud fits of laughter.

Ahem…excuse me while I go back to my studying.

Uswah’s mom: Are you wasting your time on the laptop again? Your exams are near, you should be studying! *Insert immigration speech*


About the author:

Uswah Ahsan is a sixteen year old. This article has been read, vetted and forwarded by her mom for publication on