I recently participated in a workshop that re-introduced me to an activity called the “life balance wheel.” I was asked to label a number of variables important in my life that fit under the following categories: Work, Family and Relationships, Cultural and Spiritual, Health, Hobbies and Recreation, and Education. I then identified the amount of energy I’m currently investing in these different areas. I realized that while I’m putting 110% into my work life, sadly, my current energy investment in my own identity is low.
I was devastated. I’m so proud of my Hmong heritage, and I look forward to raising my future children with respect and knowledge about the history of our people. I see my siblings and my nieces and nephews forging their own paths as they discover their identities and embrace their Hmong heritage to become confident and successful Hmong Americans. Yet, there exists a disconnect between who I am culturally, and how I invest my time and energy. How do I expect to raise my family with knowledge about their histories when I myself am not actively engaged in making our history?
Fortunately, this was a significant reminder of why I am part of the Hmong Impact Giving Circle. There is a lack of role models who look like us, speak like us, and understand the challenges that we face. There is also a lack of support for those who struggle in the cycle of poverty. If I want to raise proud Hmong children, I also need to support the Hmong community, and I need to be more engaged in order to create awareness about the community’s needs. I am re-energized after this realization and am determined to more consciously invest my energy in issues relevant to the Hmong. Participating in the Hmong Impact Giving Circle is getting me closer to my cultural identity and in giving back to the Hmong community to established a stronger, more united people.
If I can serve as a role model for both my peers and a younger Hmong population, my hope is that others will also be inspired to build up our community as well. We each have different skills and areas of expertise to share with one another, and I hope that through the work of philanthropy, together we can make a positive impact on others for the future.
Hmoob Hlub Hmoob: that is my ultimate goal, and it starts with me.