This St. Patrick's day I was explaining to our five-year old that he is part Irish. I was trying to get him to say, "Kiss me! I'm Irish." He refused saying, "Irish is not my favorite thing to be." So, instead he said, "Kiss me, I'm cute!" all day. I was feeling a little sad that Josiah was not embracing Irishness as a part of who he is. Finally, right before bed he said, "Kiss me, I'm Irish!" and I felt a little better.
We don't usually spend a lot of time discussing ethnicity, but when we do we tend to talk about his Asian heritage more than his Irish-German heritage. Al is a second generation Asian-American and is more in touch with his Asian identity. His mom watches our kids twice a week so they have a direct source for information about Asia. She cooks Asian food, gives our kids red envelopes for Chinese New Year and is teaching Josiah a little of the Chinese language.
I don't know much about my ethnic heritage. I know that my mom's grandparents came to the USA from Germany and that my dad's family has a mix of Irish, German and other European ancestors. My family has its own traditions and ways of doing things, but I don't know if any of them are specifically Irish or German or anything else. My grandma has mentioned that when she was growing up her family worked hard to fit into American culture to the detriment of maintaining their German culture. For example, she was encouraged to speak English all the time, even though her parents spoke German.
I wish I knew more about my family's history so that I could help my own kids better understand their ethnic heritage, but I'm not really motivated enough to start doing a lot of research. Maybe I'll try to spend more time with my grandma during our next visit and ask about her family's history.