It all started with one stark realization: I have close friends to talk to and count on when things get tough. My parents don't.
When my mom and dad immigrated to America, they left behind everything to live in a new country, culture, and language.
They were so busy surviving they didn't have the luxury of building deep friendships. As they get older, this becomes even harder.
My friend Patricia and I came up with a wild idea: What if we invited our friends to dinner and asked them to bring their parents so we can all meet?
Our parents feel lonely, just like us, so we decided we had to try and bring them the gift of community.
We reached out to our friends with Chinese-speaking parents & scheduled the first Bring-Your-Own-Parents (BYOP) Dinner hosted by my parents (pre-COVID).
The six parents who attended were delighted. They met other like-minded individuals who share similar life experiences, cultural values, and mother tongues.
My four friends and I witnessed touching moments when our parents reminisced on their childhood and shared their hopes and dreams for us.
We all stayed in touch. My parents have since raved countless times about how wonderful that first dinner was, and we can't wait to do it again when it's safe.
The first BYOP event helped me realize that our generation has the extraordinary ability to uplift another generation's quality of life.
With a little effort, we can change our parents' lives by merely introducing our families to each other.