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Our relationship with our children is proportionate to our relationship with our parents.
Meaning, if we want our kids to treat us well, we first must treat our parents well.
The best way to teach our children is through modeling. My son has learned to eat by himself, use the urinal, brush his teeth, comb his hair, and flush the toilet. Though he’s not an expert yet, he’s doing well for a two-year-old. I didn’t teach him to do these things by sitting down saying, “Son, this is how you eat..” or “Son, this is how you pull it out when you pee..” No, I simply bring him beside me whenever I do my stuff, then I let him learn on his own.
In the same way, I cannot teach him to love me, respect me, or even take care of me when I’m old. What I can do is set an example by doing to my parents what I want him to do to me, and hope for the best.
CARING FOR OUR PARENTS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE
To care for our parents is easier as a kid, but can be a different story when we become an adult — and be a parent ourselves. It’s because there is such thing as parental wounds which may manifest during this stage.
I learned it from a 10-week fatherhood workshop called The World Needs A Father. It’s a global movement of fathers committed to building strong families and communities. Every dad should undergo this workshop.
WE HAVE WOUNDS INFLICTED BY OUR PARENTS
Parental wounds is an emotional pain inflicted to us by either our mom or dad during childhood. It can be something they did or something they didn’t do. These pain becomes a scar in our lives and influenced how we are as a person.
For example, in my case, I am not a touchy person. I’m not used to hugging people. It’s uncomfortable for me to do the beso-beso. A possible explanation is my mom didn’t give me enough hugs and kisses when I was a child. Or worse, she gave me enough spanking to make me withdraw from physical contact.
SOME WOUNDS ARE DEEPER
In the workshop, they will give you a test to find out what is your deepest wound. Mine is identity and insecurity.
My identity issue came from my dad. He failed to affirm my strengths, my uniqueness, and my achievements; That sort of stuff.
For the insecurity part, it came from mom. She used to throw hurtful phrases at me such as: “You are still nothing in this world. I’m still the one feeding you!” In Tagalog, “Wala ka pang binatbat sa mundo. Pinapakain pa kita!” For some reason, I still feel the pain while typing those words. I’m sure she didn’t mean it but her line made severe damage to my emotion. I grew up trying to prove her wrong.
WE’LL DO STUFF TO FIND HEALING
The result of the test made me understand myself a little bit better. I realized why I did what I did during college until the early years of my career.
My identity problem was evident when I was about to go to college. My childhood dream was to become a Veterinarian. Yet, I took Hotel and Restaurant Management and intended to major in Culinary Arts. — Only because being a chef was a popular career choice back then. After a year and a half in college, guess what I took for major… — Travel and Tourism Management!
In reality, I don’t know who I am, what I want, and who I want to be.
I should have followed my friends. They took law, medicine, architecture, and engineering. That way I’ll have a prefix to validate my identity when I graduate. I’ll be called Atty., Dr., Arch., or Engr. Cause 3 years in Tourism, I’m still Mr. Chan.
FATHER WOUND LED ME TO A GOAL
My identity issue then led me to find validation at work. I followed my dad’s footstep on becoming a businessman. If I can’t get a prefix, perhaps I can strive for a suffix. Mr. Chan, the Owner, and CEO of QRS Corp. — Hm, sounds good to me.
My father wound drove me to pursue a goal. In 2012, I started a sportswear distribution company. I was happy. I can now introduce myself to the people around me. To know how to answer the usual question friends and relatives ask at gatherings, “What do you do?” is reassuring. And the best part of having an identity is this: I now have something to put on my business card and social media bio. — JED CHAN, Founder and G.M. of Zoom Box Enterprise.
MOTHER WOUND LED ME TO AN AMBITION
But I didn’t stop there. I still have my mother wound to treat. The insecurity inside me wasn’t happy. Her standard is higher. Her requirement was not only to start a business but have a successful one. At that moment, I agreed with my insecurity. I need to achieve greater heights to prove I am something.
If my father wound gave me a goal, my mother wound led me to an ambition. I wanted to own a multi-million company. An ambition which later led me to disaster.
I shut the business down 5 years after and found myself in a mound of debt. It was the result of cutting corners, borrowing money, and manipulating people. I was like a 12-year-old boy who got the key to a Bugatti. You just know from the beginning it won’t end well. My ambition was beyond my head. I acted like an eagle, yet in reality, I was only a hatchling.
WOUNDS FROM PARENTS CAN MAKE US DO CRAZY THINGS
I didn’t write this to bash my parents but to show how wounds from them can make us do crazy things. Crazy enough to hurt ourselves. And if we are not careful, it may even lead to hurting our spouse and children.
EVERY ONE IS INJURED, EVEN OUR PARENTS. LET’S NOT TAKE IT AGAINST THEM.
Despite the pain, I don’t hate my parents. Everyone has their own wounds and they are just as wounded as me. In my heart I already forgave them. It was only possible because they modeled it for me. I saw how both mom and dad cared for their parents despite their own parental wounds. From their healthy days to the time they said goodbye, my parents were there as a son and daughter.
Moreover, I don’t blame them for what happened to me. It’s because I’ve seen dad went all in on grand pa’s medication and never blamed him for his financial trouble. I understand whatever situation I’m in right now was the result of my own actions. I spilled the milk, it’s my duty to clean it up.
It’s essential to us dads to recognize our parental wounds and make peace with it. Sounds easy to some, yet nothing could be harder for others. Our bitterness toward our mom or dad may be reasonable. But to make it right with them is something we should do if we want to set an example to our kids.
IN A NUTSHELL
If you want your kids to treat you well, treat your parents well.
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.Deuteronomy 5:16 ESV