A Letter from a Psychologist Dad to His Daughter – You Don’t Have to Honour Your Parents.March 14, 2017
Dear little monster,
There are two reasons I call you “little monster” – Firstly, when the first time I saw you, you were such a little thing, your arms and legs are just like the size of my fingers. The second reason, “monster” is my word to describe a person who is naughty but I love. This is the way I pay back to my naughty kid J
First of all, I would like to apologize. We brought you to this world without your consent. You might think I am joking; you were not born yet at that time, how could we ask your opinions? But actually, I am seriously, you will soon realize that there are many things in this world you are not able to control – birth is the first thing and death is the last thing.
Of course, you are not the only one. For all the people around us, many of them came to this world without a reason, and later leave this world without an option. Your dad and mom also came to this world without knowing why. But after we live for twenty or thirty years, we felt that it is not bad, and then we decided to bring you here to have a look.
What does it mean “not bad”? It means there are so many interesting things in this world; but it is not perfect, there are still a lot of things not that good, or even sometimes, urgly. Some people think that life is full of ups and downs, and things don’t always turn out as the way you like; while other people believe that most of the life moments are wonderful. Dad wants to have an agreement with you now – no matter what opinion you might have on your life in the future, if you think it is a wonderful world, you don’t need to say thank you to us, but if you think this world is terrible, please don’t blame on us, is that okay, sweetie?
Some parents think that they brought their children to this world, and raise them, the kids should be grateful. Now you know it, bringing a child to this world is both good and bad. But it is the parents’ responsibility and obligation to train up a child in the way he/she should go. If there is a law stipulating that parents must raise their children, so your mom and dad are only doing thing that are not breaking the law. From this sense, you don’t need to say thank you to a person who is just not breaking the law, right?
Your birth is the most important thing in my life. Since then, I was upgraded to be a proud father, and this is the biggest “promotion” in my life time. After eight years of experience, I have been taught how to be a good father. You are an excellent teacher, and I will continue to study hard.
Before you were born, I was just the son of your grandmother, and I endlessly accepted the love from your grandmother, without learning how to offer love. Dad wants to tell you that offering love and being loved are the most important homework of your life. After we had you, I started learning how to offer love. As a father of a little kid, I feel that I am strong. Especially at the time you were afraid and hugged me tight, or even when you asked my help to open the water bottle for you, I saw praise and appreciation from your eyes. At that moment, I realize the value of my life. This is the world’s most sincere trust, and this encouragement for me is more amazing than other feelings in my life.
Your dad is someone else’s psychologist, but you are your dad’s psychologist. When I am down and when my heart becomes not so calm, your pure smile can always cheer me up and make me as happy as you are. People need to pay to see a psychologist; therefore, I already owe you a lot of money for the psychological treatments you provided.
Your birth also extends my biological existence, so that genes that memorize my information can continue to exist on this planet. For all people who come to this world, sooner or later, they will leave. But because of you, even if I leave one day, there is still something to keep, which makes me feel amazing and also very proud of it.
You also make me learn to love myself, and not to give up my own happiness in exchange for the right to control your life. Many parents like to make them looks pitiful. They will complaint to the children, for you, I could barely afford to eat and wear…I work very hard to survive the family, and so on. In fact, they did that is to control their children, so that their children will lose their own judgment and courage, and their children will always follow what they said even it is something unreasonable.
I never think that parents are always right. All parents were children before they grew up. If children may make mistakes, after they become parents, they will still make mistakes. How a person could makes no mistake at all after becoming a parent, right? Moreover, nobody is born good parent, anyone must first learn from their children, and then slowly become a good parent. Therefore, the child should be the teacher of the parent.
After you make your choice, you should also be responsible for the consequences of your decisions. If you make a right decision, you can enjoy the success, there should be no problem. However, if you make a wrong decision, you may suffer from your failure. In fact, failure is not always a bad thing; your life will be boring if it has only success and joy. The real happiness of life mostly comes from many different emotional experiences. Just like you go out for dinner, it will be boring if there is only one single taste in all dishes. Please remember, dad always wishes you success and happiness. But one day if you make a wrong decision or you fail, I will always wait for you at the place where you can take a break and heal your heart, no matter how long you want to stay there. Until you are ready to face your life again, I will encourage you to get back on track. When you are frustrated in your life, I will never say, if you listen to my advice, this will not happen.
Your dad is ready to share your success and happiness, as well as your failure and sadness. A good friend can do so, much less your dad.
There are two most important choices in your life: career and marriage. Other decisions are all around these two choices.
My dear little monster, when you choose your career, you have grown up. Dad will only give you suggestions based on our understanding about you and different professions. You can make your own decision and choose what you would like to do.
The happiest thing in life is to do what you like to do, and what you have achieved is recognized by people. I don’t want you to miss the chance to make your own decision. Dad has a happy life because I choose the job I like, and the job is based on my personal interest. Even my job is a very tough one; but I still enjoy it.
Marriage is the most important thing in your personal life. The time for your marriage decision is usually later than your career decision. You will become more mature at that time and I should even say lesser. Compared to your career, I should respect more on your own marriage decision. When you look at the big picture of your life, love and marriage are the most important emotional experiences. If they are decided by someone else, how can you enjoy your life?
Many parents like to make the marriage decision for their children. These parents are actually taking away their children’s happiness, and are selfish. They want to be decision makers for two generations and leave no chance for their children to choose. One value of life is to have the right to choose. When you make all the major decisions in your life, I will always be an enthusiastic audience. I need to thank you again because in the rest of my life, you will show me your interesting “life drama”. This will keep me away from the feeling of lonely and boring, and it makes me feel that my life has already been extended when I am still alive. Therefore, raising a daughter is not in exchange for care giving; it is part of my life and it makes my life more exciting.
I will never talk to you about how you should honour your parents because I believe that if we are nice to you now, you will be nice to us too. I don’t want such a natural thing becomes ethical pressure to you. It is the same as we naturally enjoy food, we don’t need to have stresses that if we don’t eat, we will die.
Everything that comes naturally is very powerful, and we should not regulate children’s natural love of their parents as an ethical standard. In my opinion, this is the most common and silly mistake. I won’t even ask you to be nice to your future parent-in-laws because I know that if a person has natural love, he/she will naturally love his/her loved ones. This kind of natural love can give you happiness, and can also make people around you happy.
You may ask, why there are so many people do not honour their parents? This can be explained by two medical terms – “secondary” and “reactive”, which mean the responses or reactions to what their parents have done to them.
Simply saying, if children did not receive high-quality love from their parents, they would not have developed the ability to love others such as their parents. When children are born, they almost like white papers, the ability of love and hate, are learned later in their lives, mainly from their parents.
Raising children is always not easy, and everything about you will be our concerns: growth, health, diet, security, friends, learning, games, and soon later, career, job, marriage and birth. From the experience of your grandparents, we know that this is a difficult journey without an end. But you don’t need to feel guilty. What I would say is that the happiness you have brought us is much more than the hard work we have done.
Life is beautiful because you always need to make a choice without knowing the consequences in advance. It is just like an adventure, which makes your life full of fun.
My dear little monster, as your father, I grant you my permission to enjoy your own choice of happiness. Now you are eight years old, as long as you are not going too far (e.g. still obey the laws and be polite to people), you can do whatever you want, and I will only offer you my recommendations and possible options, and let you make your own decision. I believe, only you can make the right decision about your own life.
After you are 18 years old, I will even say lesser. Of course, if you want to listen to my advice, I will still share my opinions with you, but only when you ask for it.
If your life decisions are always made by others, even they are your parents, you will have less fun for your life. Everyone will have chances to make wrong decisions, but this is your own life, a wrong decision made by you is better than a right decision made by others.
Just like playing chess, if there is a world champion standing beside you, and he/she constantly teaches you how to play, even you can make every single move so smart, and you can finally win the game, but can you still enjoy the game? You should always listen to your heart. You don’t need to care too much about being a winner or loser. You are playing your own chess game; that is most important.
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