You know what seems to be more universal than love? It's this unspoken dogma that I like to call "doctor, lawyer, engineer, or bust."
This may be familiar to some or foreign to others. But many parents disproportionately encourage their children to select one of these careers.
Why is this narrative so persistent? Certainly there are many answers to this problem. Maybe it's all practical--job and, thus, financial security, lack of physical labor, or social status and, correspondingly, universal respect. Or perhaps it's the opportunity for parents yearning for all of these to live vicariously through their children (sometimes to a fault).
Realistically, I do agree that those career paths make sense. So long as you perform well academically, those careers are enough in carefully controlled demand to guarantee those students a well-paying job. All you need is a well-crafted academic plan, and you're more likely to successfully become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, than a high-earning chief executive or manager, which are both subject to the whims of bureaucracy and other factors out of your control.
However, I'm entertaining the possibility that, deep down, the root of the problem is the tension between the diametrically opposed values of individualism and collectivism. When these parents interact with their children, perhaps it is with the assumption that their children's (and every individual's) primary responsibility is to the people around them, not to themselves.
Maybe this dogma exists because it is commonly understood that these three professions provide value to the community, serving sick people, passing judgement on criminals and saving the innocent, or building homes. I imagine that those concepts are easier to picture than saying that you manage a non-profit organization.
But this collectivist thinking precludes particular demographics, such as Asian-Americans, from taking the risk to occupy leadership positions, acting, and more. Regardless, as socioeconomic conditions shift and information becomes more accessible, I hope parents realize that serving society is multi-faceted.