Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lost and Found

Last week, EgyptAir flight 804 went missing en route from Paris to Cairo. The plane just left Greece airspace when it disappeared. Later, it was found that the plane had crash. But why? how? what happened? There are lots of contradicting reports and speculations, and the truth may never be found.  But one thing is sure, all 66 precious lives were lost.

Sorry I haven't written you as often as I wished. I had to take care of a lingering back pain which seemed to get worse. In April, it was diagnosed as Sciatica nerve pain and I had to take care of myself, including going to physical therapy. Delays such as these were not in my plan.

I was worried about not being able to travel to the East Coast for a family reunion. I haven't seen my siblings for two years. So I prayed everyday that I would be well enough to travel. I had to be careful with my back so I checked in my carry-on bag while James carried his. With only a short time to make the connecting flight, I was happy to walk luggage-free.

When we arrived our final destination, we slowly walked to baggage claim area. Bags were coming out at carousel #2 but we didn't see mine. We waited, and waited, and waited.

Someone said those bags on the belt were from a different flight. "... Go to that room and ask. May be your bag was moved that already."

I gave a lady my tag and she looked among those poor bags sitting in the room waiting for their owners. "No. Yours is not here. Let me check."

She worked on her computer and looked up. "Your bag did not make the connecting flight."

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Try New Ways to Communicate with Your Child

Parents are unique and so are their children. But there are common areas of concerns that parents can do something about. One of such areas is communication.

You probably have heard the saying that “Nobody cares about what you say unless they know you care.”

Parents who love their kids are devastated when preteens and teenagers yelled, “You don’t care!”

If you frequently get that comments from your child, no matter how old they are, pause, take a deep breath, and take some time to reflect on what is going on.  You love your child but how come she or he does not get it?

Does it surprise you that many children and teenagers complain about parents nagging them, being angry and critical of them, not listening to them, or not trusting them? If you have the tendency of reasoning with them but getting nowhere, and if you fear that your relationship is going down the drain, restore your hope by checking whether you could communicate better.

The Bible says, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (James 1:19).

Mignon McLaughlin, journalist once said, "We hear only half of what is said to us, understand only half of that, believe only half of that, and remember only half of that."

When our minds are distracted (e.g. "hey, what is there for lunch?") or we are preparing for a comeback (e.g. "no no no, you get it wrong!"), we are at best half listening. Even worse, we interrupt the other person in mid sentence. In frustration, they interrupt us back hoping their points can be understood. And the vicious cycle continues.

The four-sides communication model by Friedemann Schulz von Thun reminds us that every message has four sides (e.g. facets and aspects): fact, self-revealing, relationship, and appeal.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Mom and Dad, Please Listen to Me!

Hey Mom and Dad,

I hate to admit, but you may call me a person with “a fierce demeanor but faint of heart.” Sure, I’d like to be cool, but I do care about you! As a teenager whose parents are going through midlife crisis, I have a lot to learn, but so do you!

1. Please remember this period of my “rebellion” is my time of searching for identity. I am learning to express my feelings and thoughts, not trying to sing a different tune. Don’t forget that I have to live independently and face the world by myself in a few years.

2. Whether you intend to encourage or discipline me, please be patient and treat me with kindness. I don’t need you to stay with me all the time, but I still hope that you would spend more time to understand me.

3. Trust me! By doing so, you empower me with love because I need your compassion, acceptance, respect and empathy. I need to know that as I grow, you are more at ease with me and are willing to let go.

4. Please don’t be angry with me for too long and don’t limit my freedom too much. You have your jobs, your hobbies, and your friends, but you are the only dad (or mom) I have.

5. Please talk with me without lecturing me, and listen to me with full attention. Even when we don’t understand each other, I will still feel your willingness to spend time to understand me, accept me, honestly address my doubts, and talk about sensitive subjects with me.

6. I will forever remember how you treat me and pray for me.

7. Before you curse or even hit me, please remember that I have enough strength to revenge even though I may choose not to.

8. Before you scold me and call me disobedient, uncooperative, stubborn, or lazy, please try to figure out whether something else is bothering me. I could be all stressed out due to peer pressure! May be I am not receiving the affirmation, acceptance, encouragement and care I need. I could be too tired, haven’t taken any break for quite some time due to homework and extra curriculum activities. My heart could have grown stiff because of growing pains and fears. Of course, sometimes I don’t know how to express myself or am affected by hormonal change.

9. Instead of rejecting me when I make mistakes, please understand, accept, and support me. Haven’t you experienced failures too? Please don’t deny your mistakes and failures. Your integrity and courage to change are my best examples.

10. As I am struggling through this difficult process of becoming an adult, I have to face setbacks and defeats. Your love for me will make it easier for me to face these teenage storms. Don’t ever forget that I love you, and that you have promised to love me all your life.

This article was published in Chinese by Family Keepers in April 2010.