Monday, 12 October 2015

The Apples of My Eye

Upon coming back from badminton session last night, my dad started nagging me about the abundance of my shoes bought throughout the years of my secondary school, even before me entering college life. As a background, my dad very rarely nags at me so this has got to be a serious issue. He grew up in a poor family, so as my mom from a fisherman family background, so he thinks buying another pair of shoes before the old one is broken is plain wasteful. But I just kept buying, not at the expense of my own hard earned money, but from my mom's pocket. This explains his frustration.

But to me, every different pair of shoes serves different purposes! I realised I had once tried to play football and so I bought a pair of football shoes, just to be hit by the fact that I barely play football after I moved to a boarding school when I was in Secondary Four. I started playing more of basketball in school so I bought a pair of basketball shoes. This may not sound serious to some people especially girls, because just like clothing, buying shoes is another way to spend our money. The only difference between girls and me is I bought the shoes for functional purpose, some girls bought the shoes for fashion and to some extent pleasure purpose.

So I argued with my dad again yesterday. This was not the first time. We had a few major arguments before but normally it ended well. Yesterday it happened again and it was not a nice scene to behold. I always felt bad whenever I argued with my dad because I knew it did not has to be that way. Ever since I went to church and Pastors always say "Honour your parents", I have always been trying my best to control my emotion. I failed yesterday. I can blame the failure to my tiredness from badminton session. Or I can blame myself. I chose to blame myself.

What my dad was scolding me about is my attitude. He was right. Although I have always tried to be nice, I have this hot temper always waiting to be explode. I am the first one to admit I have hot temper. It has erupted a few times over my life, and I always felt bad after that. Apparently anger stems from the family upbringing. If you were being raised in an angry family with family members quarrelling almost every day, chances are you had the anger seed planted in you. But now you have a choice! You can choose to ignore this seed. If you water this seed, it will grow but if you choose to ignore the seed and try your best to eradicate the seed from yourself, very soon you will be able to master your emotion and will not let anger overcome you.

Talking is easier than practicing, I am still learning the proper way to control my anger, especially towards my parents. On ordinary days, I would strive to honour them and cherish them whenever I can. They are the apple of my eyes. But things don't always go well in the family, in my family at least. I had this thought that they did not understand me at all. I thought I was smarter than them, I thought I knew it better than them, I knew it all. But the truth is this, I knew nothing. I came to this revelation all thanks to a dear friend who reminded me things I have overlooked yesterday.

My friend said something that struck me when I woke up this morning, I was caught in surprise. "When we think our parents don't understand us, they in fact knew us both in and out. But so often we are unable to accept the fact they knew us better because that would mean we have lost the argument. Before we were even borned, they tried their best to figure out what we wanted even before we could speak." I was stunned. She was right. Before we could even speak, they tried to figure out what we wanted.

We were all once babies and could barely speak a word, but they knew we were hungry or in pain when we cried aloud. They have seen us growing up so they should know us both in and out, how we behave (or used to behave) and how we were always the very demanding little fur balls. They knew what we wanted, and always tried their best to give what we need and sometimes what we wanted. I should be greateful that my mom has always tried her best to fulfill what I wanted so far. But one thing is for real – anchoring.

What does it mean by anchoring? Sometimes parents tend to anchor to their impression of the kids when they were young, stubborn and annoying, almost ignoring the fact their kids have all grown up now. Through the education system and external inputs (such as peer influences and religious values), they are now very different people from who they were used to be younger  the very immature, naive, demanding and naughty kids. "That's why parenting is an ongoing process!" My friend again reminded me, that not every parent knows the art of parenting. It involves "follow up" as the kids grow up, but many parents tend to skip this step.

This struck me hard too on the other hand. In 10 years time I may be a father myself, so this skill is due to be learnt very quickly. Some people say children are our best gifts from God and we should always cherish them. True, all true! But if there is one thing we can learn from our children, it's patience. Not only being patient towards our children, but as children ourselves, being patient with our parents. I realised I have yet to fully master patience although I would have to say that I have improved significantly over the years.

What do you do when someone more elder than you (for instance, parents or elder siblings) shouted at you at home? Do you shout back at them? I am ashamed and embarassed to admit that I did. I shouted back. If you know me well enough, I am a very quiet & reserve person, and I have limited energy. But when someone for some very petty and insignificant things, keeps nagging and shouting at me, I would have hard time tolerating the person, including my parents, because that would drain off my limited energy. This is bad and I know it, something I need to learn how to ignore and let go quickly.

There are no perfect parents in the world, neither are mine. But we ought to learn how to tolerate their weaknesses because they have tolerated ours as we grew up. They are still tolerating our weaknesses now. Whether or not they provide us useful wisdom and advices is another issue. You can choose to take it or leave it. I'm a sucker for deep thoughts and wisdom imparted from elder people, but I realised I can never get all these from my parents. The respect deserved and honour due for our parents have to be given, anyhow.

Then this cold hard fact hit me. It hit me not long ago but yesterday I have temporarily forgotten them. They are growing old and are no longer young. We should always cherish our parents whenever we still have our opportunities to, no matter how imperfect they really are. Now, I am thankful that I still have this chance. I am thankful my family is not a broken family bombarded by divorce cases, they have done a good job in keeping our family in tact. I am thankful they still love us despite through very different ways, sometimes even incomprehensible. But the roots remain.

My parents are the apples of my eye.

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