A Mother Who Thought Outside the Box

盒子外面 hézi wàimiàn

By Gregory Taylor

There is a lady who, in her own words, has been thinking “outside the box” for over a decade.  A single mother who grew up in East Oakland, she attended Elmhurst Junior High and Castlemont High Schools.
Thirteen years ago, she did the inconceivable and placed her two-year-old son in a Chinese childcare center.  Her reasoning involved a mixture of convenience (it was close to her work), cultural diversification and  “language immersion.”
Five years later, while her son attended Lincoln Elementary School in Oakland Chinatown, a Chinese music teacher detected something unique in his singing voice and taught him to sing Chinese Operas.
The next 10 years saw this youngster perform at the State Department before Condoleezza Rice, sing arias at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and for his crowning achievement, a solo New Year’s performance that was beamed to nearly 2 billion people in Asia.  
Tyler Thompson became a prodigy of Chinese Opera.  This would be noteworthy in and of itself, but for a Black child to adopt a specific cultural custom of another group is astonishing.  “Google” Tyler Thompson to view some of his accomplishments.
If you thought this mother produced a one-hit wonder, you would be wrong.  A successful model apparently breeds success.  She has an older daughter, Alanai, who between the ages of 14 and 18 years attended boarding school (thinking outside the box again) and recently graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Southern California.
So, it appears that Tyler had a sibling example to follow. This column is written in praise of mothers, like Vanessa Ladson – Tyler and Alanai’s mom – who think outside the box and have the foresight to put their children in a most improbable position in order to soar.
As Miss Ladson affirmed to me when speaking about parental obstacles, “Parents can stifle our kids.”
父母別低估你們孩子的能力. fù  mǔ  bié  dī  gū  nǐ  men hái  zi de néng  lì . Parents don’t underestimate your child’s ability
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