Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dear Children Letter: A Pleasant Discovery

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.

Affectionately yours,

March 11, 9.30am.


Chen said...

That's a very beautiful and heart touched letter Beekhoon sister wrote.

Beekhoon sister is really a great mother and I really admired how she can practice Buddhism in real life.

Good parents set important role model for our future generation. they said the children learn from what you do not what you said.

I already met two of the wonderful children, I think they are fill with positive energy and so bright and happy--the same positive energy I see in you two.

nice letter. thanks to share.

I will be in town next weekend. I will be happy if I can help out any on moving for my "family" and my new "neighbor".

Say Lee said...

We appreciate your offer of assistance and will be in contact soon.

My wife especially likes the fact that we would be neighbors, though not next-door exactly.

Kitty Girl said...

Although it has been said, this is a beautiful and touching letter, and a beautiful translation! Now I know why Mom kept asking if I'd read your blog lately... Haha!!

Yes, now that I'm older, I realize the value of interpersonal relationships and also realize that what appears to be mere happenstance encounters are actually part of the bigger picture... And that doing good things, thinking positive thoughts, helping others, is vital for a world of love and compassion (that sounds so corny...but it's true!). In the Dean Koontz books I've been reading, humanity is a big theme (human kindness, struggling against evil no matter what), and I'm also trying to read more productive, positive material.

I used to love watching gory, bloody movies, but then I asked myself, Why am I watching this? What's the purpose? And now I try to do things that have a meaningful purpose, or that are productive or helpful to at least myself or Dan (like learning new, healthy recipes). I also try to go out with friends, or when I go out by myself, to chat with the employees a little bit.

As for the short temper, I am trying to work on it... Seeing as how I am, *ahem*, genetically predisposed (heh, heh heh) to it... Just kidding!

"When you exercise positive inter-personal traits, more people will be attracted to helping you, thereby easing your life’s journey considerably." --> I do believe that. Dan has said that people seem to naturally take a liking to me (of course, not EVERY single person), and I do think that it's because I try to be as nice as I can and helpful to others if possible. I try to teach him that, too.

"According to an ancient Chinese adage: we are born virtuous." --> Ha! Dan was talking about what he wanted our kids to be, and the first thing he said was "confident," and while he was searching for other noble characteristics I said the first thing that had come into MY mind, "virtuous", and he said "Yes, virtuous." In my personal experiences and from other reading material, I have come to the conclusion that it is more important than ever to distinguish right from wrong, to do the right thing, to display kindness... Anyway.

So, Mom and Dad, I am trying! I am going to print out this letter and tape it on the wall so that I may be reminded of it everyday. :)