In preparation of the big move coming up next week, my wife has been busy packing stuff into boxes that I've been busy sourcing from my office and grocery stores. Now we are just starting to realize how much things we have assembled/stocked up in the past three years.
Every little thing seems to be of some sentimental value that parting with it becomes an agonizing decision making. Then there is the joy of discovering something anew, something that has been locked up away so deep that its discovery can only be described as uplifting. Here is one, in the form of a letter, replete with motherly concern, that my wife has penned to our children. In her words, albeit translated from Chinese:
My dearest children,
Lately Mom has noticed that you seem to be engrossed in doing your own things, most of which revolve around being one-on-one with the computer, or rather, the virtual world encapsulated in the Internet. Consequently, you have grown to be sort of detached from your surroundings, oblivious to the many social interactions that characterize a vibrant society.
Perhaps this has something to do with the present-day manifestation of being cool, bordering on aloofness. However, Mom feels strongly that a vital ingredient for a peaceful world is love and compassion.
All we need is a little caring, a little tolerance, a few good words, a few good deeds, having good thoughts from everyone to make this world a heaven on earth.
Bear in mind that communication requires practice and giving. The quantum of return one receives is in direct proportion to the amount that one dishes out, sometimes even generating a many-fold return, though that should not be our reason for giving.
Those who come into contact with us are not happenstance; the seemingly chanced meeting is the realization of conditions that converge at the right time and at the right place. Therefore, we should treat each encounter with gratitude, aimed at fostering rapport and establishing a long-term relationship founded on mutual respect, help, and learning from each other.
When you exercise positive inter-personal traits, more people will be attracted to helping you, thereby easing your life’s journey considerably. We are by nature gregarious beings, and solitary habitation works only for the selected few who have the fortitude to ponder life detached from the masses.
Love needs to be cultivated, nurtured and propagated with the heart. It just does not appear out of nowhere nor is it a “given” under any circumstances. We need to be appreciative of others, including our loved ones, whose affection for us tend to be taken for granted. Being appreciative also helps develop compassion, and augments our capacity to love more.
Mom also noticed that you are susceptible to tantrums at the slightest provocation. Sometimes I’m even confused at the cause of your displeasure, with no apparent candidate in sight.
My dearest children, be more receptive of criticisms, and show more patience. Give others a chance for them to be heard, and listen well. If you need to, clarify and explain clearly. This is character molding exemplified by an even temperament.
According to an ancient Chinese adage: we are born virtuous. It’s the gradual contamination of the environment that puts a hard crust over our true self, sequestering it such that we become blind to our virtuous nature.
Mom wants to awaken you to your true virtuous nature to become a happy being, one who does not succumb to the temptations and vagaries of the environment, one is able to be in control of your disposition to render it one of joy and poise, impervious to mere words and deeds designed to rattle you.
My dearest children, you’re smart, and so you would understand why I’m doing this at great length. Furthermore, a quick temper is obviously no good for health. Mom really hopes that you can make an attempt to learn to control your temper.
Mom loves you, and obviously is not perfect in every aspect, though I really try. So let us try together to cultivate and propagate the gospel of love and compassion.
March 11, 9.30am.