Be flexible, open-minded and less dogmatic


When I heard one of my young relatives in Houston planned to buy an ipad for his girlfriend using his first paycheck, I immediately thought of his mother, my youngest sister. Next I shared with him my thought on this matter. Of course, my lecture started with trite stuffs like his success, kindness, and loyalty being the best gifts that a man could give to a woman. I am even tired of hearing myself saying this.

I told him of one of the deepest regrets in my life. That is I had not made my first trip home earlier. I came to the States in 1984 and my first visit home was in the summer of 1987. That was also the time when my father passed away. I bought him a color TV, a big deal at that time. He was in hospital all the time and didn’t even watch it once. The regret still hurts me after so many years.

Had I known he would leave us so soon, at age of 57, I would have come back home in a year or two, bought the TV earlier, and spent more time with him. I could say I was young and stupid and not understanding the fragility of life. But that won’t change a thing.

I shared this with my young relative, hoping he could take my message. That is, pay your filial duty while you can. He and his girlfriend are young and still have a long way to go.

My relative said he did not like being told of what he should or should not do. He would do it only when he wants to, not when somebody told him to. Of course, what I suggested was not something that he wanted to do at this moment. I feel like facing a rebellious teenager who would not do it simply because he doesn’t like to be told to. Honestly, I felt a bit hurt. But I am sure things will improve, given time.

I share this with my children. The take home message is this —  Adopt a more mature and open attitude. No matter who says it, do it as long as it makes sense. Listening and following other people’s advice do not belittle us at all. On the contrary, it reveals a broad mind, capable of accepting ideas and advices of others.

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