This weekend I had the special opportunity to see my family and although I call them every day, be it for a few minutes or longer, it was an indescribable feeling to be altogether again. I guess we call this feeling “being home”, sensing that we are nurtured and accepted (of course, with natural challenges from time to time), and connecting to childhood memories of many years. I know there are various family situations in this world, some beautiful, some tragic, some diverse – and yet, one commonality is that family shapes us in a personal way. There is one saying that “we choose our friends, but we don`t choose our family”. While I understand what the message is (at the end, you have your unique parents who gave you birth), but I somewhat disagree because
I do think that we can consciously choose our family (you decide what “family” means to you), over and over again.
I know from my own personal reflections that, as with any other relationships, you “water” your family, while they water you – meaning working on yourself can have a positive impact on others. One example is that our parents and us are from different generations – the value is they pass on their precious life values and learned lessons, amongst many other valuable things, and the challenge may be that different views on life may collide, but for mutual learning and expanding each other`s horizons.
I trust that our parents always give their best
- my parents told me over this weekend that as children, they had to collect straw or old leaves, so they could make fire and cook for their families. Sometimes they also didn`t have any rice or food for a proper meal. This minor comment gave me a huge shift of perspectives, knowing that I live in a modern city of London, having never to worry about electricity supply (well … ;)) or enough food (it seems that actually too much food is being produced!). It also gave me a better context around many things – being a first-born and the first to study and work in professional services, with natural moments of stress, frustration, and doubts, but knowing that we all give our best and that I owe so much to my remarkable parents. #gettingemotional :)
Don’t worry it will not be a long story, but I do want to share the greatest inspirations from my parents which I need to keep reminding myself of. My parents got the great opportunity, when they were young adults from Vietnam, to move and work abroad. They soon moved to Germany – a country where they did not speak its language (not similar to me moving to London and being fluent in English!). They built up their lives in a foreign country away from their own families speaking a foreign language and yet, they have gifted me with an overall beautiful and worry-less childhood.
I remember – back when we had no other distractions via smart phones or other technical devices – special moments where I played outside on the street on a warm summer day, while my mum was cooking inside. I remember – when I told my dad that all my classmates had glue to stick their papers together and I didn`t have one – so my dad got creative and we actually managed to use rice as glue! I also remember when my little sister and I were self-managing our school work and household, while our parents ran their restaurant. Yet, our parents were always present and there, and paid attention, with all their work on top, to provide us with new experiences, such as cinema, cycling, or Christmas market.
I owe my parents also precious values, such as kindness, politeness, ambition, and diligence. Not to mention, that that they brought us closer to their world of Vietnam with its culture, food, and their mother tongue. Because of my parents, I was keen to learn a lot as education can pave ways to opportunities in life. Although I got challenged and felt lonely when I moved on to other realms, such as university or professional services work, I never forgot that it was also because of my parents` groundwork, love, and support, that I am who I am now. As I get teary when writing this blog post (but I am generally also quite emotional ;)),
I will conclude with my call to reflect on your family and what they have taught you. Whether your memories are tender or hurtful (be kind to yourself), they have probably left you with a valuable lesson for life.
This week`s ...
Inspiration: Stefanie Stahl – The Child Within You Must Find a Home
Reflection: What were you able to learn from your parents and family?
Intention: Capture all the beautiful moments and lessons learned for yourself, that you share with your parents and family. Do you need / want to share special thanks? Do you want to learn more about your parents`/ family`s history? What would be your best next steps to connect with your roots? :)