The first time I noticed a curious pattern in my behavior, wanting one more thing, I was in my early twenties picking up a coat on layaway. It took a while to save enough money, but finally, the coat was mine.
After growing up in a country where hard work, toughness, and independence ranked one, two, and three on the staircase of values, and the concept of self-esteem was years in the future, immigrating and raising children in the United States was a cultural shock. In my mini cosmos, it seemed that American parents treated children as porcelain dolls. I started out as a not-fitting-the-mold kind of a parent.