Actor James Hong’s grit and determination to triumph against all odds is a great example for parents, who have multiple challenges to face. With a supportive community of people in the same boat, we can coast to victory in our parenting journey as well.

Parenting inspiration can come from unlikely sources.

It doesn’t take much to transfer skills from the testimony of just about anyone who’s faced what they see as, or what others might have told them is, an impossible mountain to climb.

Parenting is a daunting vocation.

The likes of which make John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Shakespeare’s King Lear, and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, look like kindred spirits in the quest to reach “impossible” goals, still keep ourselves sane, and yet find time for fellowship along the way.

To keep parenting well, dig deep from wells long enough to spark inspiration.

Enter James Hong.


The 93-year-old American actor just achieved the equivalent of an American knighthood.

After a lengthy fan-driven GoFundMe campaign, James received recognition for a lifetime of work, with Hollywood cementing his name on the Hollywood walk of fame.

Hong’s career spans 70 years. He has over 600 screen credits to his name, and along with voice acting for a recent animation, he’s just finished another film called, ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once.

An engineer-turned-actor, Hong paved the way forward for Asian Americans, beating an industry known for hyper-selectivity, the cult of celebrity, greed, and an ungodly obsession with physical appearances.

Two aspects of James Hong’s career offer solid inspiration for parents. He refused to heed the noise of self-doubt and made a career out of playing second fiddle.

Hong overcame high odds in an oddball industry.


Despite limited roles for Asian actors, Hong ended up forging a career out of acting, becoming one of the most memorable character actors in cinematic history.

A standout example is his portrayal of Lo-Pan, the jarring, quintessential villain that helped turn ‘Big trouble in little China’ into a cult classic.

Alongside acting, Hong is a director, owns a film company, and has a long history of collaboration alongside Golden oldies such as Clarke Gable and Groucho Marx.

Hong’s versatility turned what looked impossible into a tangible reality.

“When I first came here,” he told Deadline in 2018, “There were no Asian roles that were not cliche […] all stereotypes […] I became an actor, but then I had to fight for a very long time for Asian Americans.”

Fed up with the limitations, and what he called racism, Hong met with Mako (another — very cool — well-known Japanese-American actor) and, as Deadline recounts, did what they could, with what they had.

“I look back,” he added, “and think is that what I started? […] I just did what I had to do.”


Other than Hong’s gig as Mr Ping in Kung Fu Panda — the “peak of his career” — Hong has rarely had a starring role.

He is the cameo king, featuring in episodes of Bonanza, The A-Team, MacGyver (’80s), Miami Vice, Magnum P.I., Dukes of Hazzard, Family Affair, and the list goes on.

Although he’s played “second fiddle”, no movie or TV series would have been the same without his presence in it.

Hong has used those limits to lift others.

A bonus takeaway piece of encouragement for parents here is that they can be replaced at work, but they can never be replaced at home.

A devout Christian, Canada’s Signal-Star writes, it’s Hong’s ‘potent mix of heart, humility and hard work,’ that ‘secures his legacy.’

Hong brought his best every time. He succeeded because he kept turning up.

Through the same kind of faith, tenacity, humility and flexibility, mums and dads can succeed and secure their legacy too.

Whether starting out or struggling, parenting isn’t much different.

Setbacks happen, yet it’s heart, humility and hard work that determines the difference between choosing victory and a life of victimhood.


Photo: Ryan Miller/Getty Images

Published On: May 21st, 20220 CommentsTags: , , , ,

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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