Answer by Brandon Lee:

About 5 years ago, when I was about to make my decision to drop out of school, I made a courtesy call to my mom, but I didn't know I was beginning a two week argument.

My mom said a lot of things and for those two weeks I kept wondering, "Why is my mom discouraging me?? Why does it seem like she's crushing my dreams? Why can't she support me? Why does it seem like she has this vendetta to oppose everything that I want?!"

Like most Asian mothers, my mom wanted me to stay in school. There was very little room for debate in her mind. I could do whatever the heck I wanted as long as I finished school. "You're already halfway there, why don't you just finish?!" she reasoned.

Over the course of the 2 weeks, I remember feeling like my mom didn't value where I was coming from, I felt like she had no regard for my preference or aspirations, I felt disrespected, ridiculed for having these foolish "dreams."

She would say things that would seem to convey that whatever I wanted was unimportant, irrelevant, and dumb. She almost made it sound like I was a criminal to think anything else than the way she thought.

 I remember getting mad, I remember feeling hurt.

I keep emphasizing "feel" and "seem" because after two weeks of arguing, I finally realized something.

My mom was adamantly pushing me towards her idea of success.

She firmly believed that going to and finishing school was going to make the difference for my life. She firmly believed that my future success was contingent on my college education. And it was apparent that she was fighting with every fiber of her being to make sure her son was going to succeed.

I simply saw things differently.

But realizing that changed my demeanor towards my mom. She wasn't a crusher of dreams, she was a mother who deeply cared, but our understanding of "success" and "happiness" were quite different.

I ended up wrapping the two-week argument saying, "Mom, I know you care about me, I'm not trying to disrespect, dishonor, or purposely fight you on this. I know and understand where you are coming from and why you think you are right, but I simply see it differently."

We agreed to disagree and my mom let me make the decision for myself… but spent the next couple years reminding me to go back to school! Haha.

But since I made that decision, I found a place for myself and I ended up spending the next few years traveling and working with non-profits, and then I started a real estate company and have spent the last 2 years investing in real estate full time.

Every now and then, my mom still reminds me to go back to school. I am thoroughly convinced my mom cares about me, but she still believes that going to college is the best way.

My mom loves me, but she and I simply see things differently.

She was not out to get me, crush my dreams, or belittle my opinions —  even though it certainly did feel like that at times.

I have a hard time believing you have a mother that genuinely wants you to fail and never succeed.

I hope this helps you see your mom in a different light, but I would definitely say, learn to draw your boundaries — I moved out as soon as I made that decision because I knew my mom would be talking in my ear if I didn't and I knew that would not be helpful if I wanted to move forward with my plans.

My mom often calls me, with her pessimism, to discourage me, dishearten me, demoralize me, what would you do if it was you?


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