DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents moved our family to the United States from Nigeria when I was 3 years old. Like most Nigerian parents, they have always encouraged my siblings and me to be the best in everything we do. Growing up, if I wasn’t No. 1 in my class, my parents would ask me what the other kid was doing that I was not. One time, my mother asked me the grades of my classmate before I was allowed on a play date.
Fast forward to now, and I hold two degrees because my parents had hoped I’d become a doctor. I’ve had enough with school and would like to go into comedy. So far, I’ve had some success online, and of course I have a five-year plan. My parents are having a hard time accepting this, which makes going home for Christmas dreadful. How do I cope with my parents drilling me about becoming a doctor? -- Not a Doctor, Bronx, New York
DEAR NOT A DOCTOR: Believe it or not, your parents mean the best. The push for you to be excellent is their way of urging you to do your best to succeed. They moved across the world to give you an opportunity, and they don’t want you to get distracted. This focus is legitimate. That said, their push for you to fulfil their career dreams is entirely different.
Go home for the holidays to be with them. If you are not ready to talk about your comedic plans, dodge their questions -- for now. Let them know that you are doing well. You may have to get your career started and prove to them that you are able to take care of yourself. Work to figure out a way to provide for yourself as you grow your comedy brand. You will need to do that anyway.