How I got along so well with my parents (1)
“How do you get along so well with your parents?”
“How come you and your daughter are like best friends?”
Those were the two questions my mother and I got asked the most by people. (First, mine. Second, hers). Her friends, my friends, our acquaintances.
I get along pretty well with my dad too. As well as it’s Asianly possible that is (if you’re an Asian, you probably know what I’m talking about). Does makes me wonder if this whole little space between father and daughter is just an Asian thing or it’s universal (Western fathers, what’s your take?).
So the friends of my mothers and my friends often puzzled the close relationship between my mother and I.
“How is it possible?” , they asked.
Well, there were definitely many things at play. There were (many) multiple factors in building the kind of relationship that I had with my mother. The kind that is the mother-daughter kind but also at the same time the best friend kind.
When I told my friends the kind of things I said or told my parents at times, they would stared at me in disbelief, mouth agape.
You said WHAT to your mother/father?
Followed by “If I say that to my parents, I would probably end up either losing my ass or grounded for like… the rest of my life!”
And I remember thinking, “Whaaaaaaaa…? Why?”
Yes, I said things to my parents. Not the disrespectful kind, of course. Not the kind that would send me straight to hell.
It was just honest things. My feelings and thoughts on certain topics or issues.
As an example, when I notice my parents have bad habits, or have been doing certain things wrong, I pointed it out to them. Straightforward honesty.
Me : Can you please not do that? It’s very detrimental to your mental health (on the topic of nagging and complaining during breakfast).
Father : Oh okay.
That’s one of the many instances I can think of. The one thing I do that my friends find nearly impossible to carry out with their own parents.
I will always try to tell my parents things that I think will benefit them. Even if it means I have to teach them.
When I told a couple of my friends that conversation between me and my dad, they were like… “You told your dad to shut up?”
Well, it’s for both of our own good (and sanity). Nagging and complaining first thing in the morning is very bad for mental health. You’re starting your day not with being grateful with what you have, but rather being unhappy about all the things that you wish you don’t have. Like problems, for example.
Of course, I was going to tell my dad if something is not good for him.
I’m not going to let him spiral down the blackhole of unhappiness. I owe it to him.
Same went with my mother. I relied on her to tell me truths and wisdom and I would do exactly the same for her out of love.
It was when I was reading Jesse Wilson’s (another favourite Medium writer) article (link below) that I realized that one of the reasons I got along so well with my parents was/is because they accept that being older doesn’t necessarily mean being wiser/more all-knowing.
They used to be a little close-minded too. Some points in my life, they told me a few times, “What do you know? I’ve been in this world longer than you. I know better.”
And they were right.
They did know better.
But as all of us grow older, they also started to realize that my brother and I have been to more places than them (thanks to them, of course), seen more things, read more books and learned more things.
My parents can offer us invaluable lessons that we would never have learned ourselves no matter how many books we read or how much we experience in life. But this thing goes BOTH WAYS and it is in this understanding that I was able to have such a good relationship with my parents.
My parents were/are willing to learn from us (my brothers and I) as much as we are more than willing to learn from them.
Even to this very day, my father is still willing to learn from us, the children. And that in itself, is wisdom.
So does wisdom come with age? Absolutely. Yes.
But does age means wisdom? Sadly, I have to say no. I have met people who I have wished are as wise as their age but they just aren’t.
And I have been very fortunate to have met people who are still young (some even younger than me) but have matured well beyond their age. Such a blessing.
Age doesn’t always guarantee us wisdom and it is in this realization itself that wisdom is also to be found.
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