There is a difference between Obey and Honour. We should know what’s the difference and live our lives to it. This would have been a good lesson for the teenager version of myself.
Like Father, Like Son. My Parents’ Vision was My Vision.
For all my life, I had lived up to my father and mother’s advice about how I should live my life. I lived up to their image of me, and kept the ideal image they wanted of a good daughter. My relatives and their family friends had always praised me for being beautiful, smart, diligent and having perfect manners. As embarrassing as it is to recall all of these comments of utter pure flattery for me, I was always obliged to just follow and just obey the typical image of what they set for me.
Following their ideas – if my parents are happy, I am happy.
Following and obeying was always the easy way out. I’m not sure if it’s because of my family environment, or how my parents nurtured and shaped me, I strongly loathe all types of arguments or debates. So I just follow all their ideas, and give up on my own. Throughout all my childhood, I would just give up on my own ideas and try to live up to theirs. I thought, if they are happy, I would be happy.
I was trained to be a family-orientated daughter.
Diligence: Changing own dreams to suit parents’ dreams?
During my secondary school days, I wanted to do Environmental Science in university. I was very aware of what we as humans are selfishly doing to the environment, and I wanted to study it so I could help the world, even if it’s just changing a small step by step.
But my parents wanted wanted me to choose a practical, safe, stable and well-paid job (a profession). So on the day of the University Open Day, my mother and I passed by the Geology major, and my own thoughts about what I wanted to do changed “Aha! This is great. Earth Science = Geography with more Science aspect. It’s a win-win for me, I like outdoor excursions and it’s a profession (to fulfill parents’ wishes)!”
I probably never thought what this decision that moment would do for future myself. I didn’t do what I majored in because I loved it, it was because it fulfilled my parents’ wishes.
Sudden thought: Is this career my Future?
I got into the Geology profession right after university. It was the path of the norm: graduating from the major and getting into a career related to the major. It’s the typical path of everyone who came out from tertiary education.
Turns out, I didn’t love the career I majored in. One day, I suddenly had an ‘indicator‘:
Look at your boss.
Imagine yourself as him, ten years later.
This is exactly YOU, ten years later.
I looked at my boss, doing just more of the tedious work I was doing; I couldn’t imagine myself as him. I wanted to do something better with my life.
Your life is Yours, not Theirs. Parents only wish you would be happy.
This was like my quarter-life crisis. It was this moment when I finally realized that I had been obeying orders for the first twenty years of my life, and never did what I really wanted to do.
In the end, parents only wish the best for us. They want to protect us. Their advice was just a guidance. The topics of arguments was to see how strongly you felt for what was right. Their orders are they for you to ‘Honour’, not necessarily to ‘Obey’.
“You shall honour your father and your mother” – The Fifth Commandment
I had this epiphany from watching TED Talk by Lisa Bu. The Fifth Commandments tells us to Honour, and not Obey. They’re a difference. Honour in the Fifth Commandment teaches us how to love our parents – it’s a lifelong promise of proper respect.
I was lost for what I would do for a career. I was so guided for the first twenty years of my life, following and obeying orders and this moment that I finally grew up, I finally learned that it was just advice, not orders. The advice and views on what to do with life.
Obey ≠ Honour
- Obeying parents is not the same as Honouring them.
- If we obey your parents’ wishes against our own wishes…
- In the long run, it will drive DISHONOUR back to them.
- Going against your own wishes won’t lead you to true Happiness.
- Either you revert to your true dreams to what you do too late in life – which worries them more;
- Or you’re stuck within their comfort zone for the rest of your life.
- However, Parents love you despite all the things you do.
LOVE. All they wanted was for you to be Happy.
Why we have to Honour our parents.
Our parents are the core of our lives. They gave us the BEST life can offer – LIFE itself. If it wasn’t for them, we’ll never be feeling all of this. They suffered to take us out into this world – no matter how well we were brought up to be – we cannot blame them for the personality we have now – We are Our Own Self. It takes a WhatsApp message to dump your boyfriend/girlfriend, a phone call to file for a divorce, but no matter what we can never dump our parents.
All-in-all, they just wanted,
- They wanted to protect us.
Following dreams may fail – they’ve seen many examples of that.
They just want us to flourish, never falling, never failing, never hurting.
- They fear their realities changing.
They fear our change, that their sons/daughters are no longer the predictable children that we used to be.
- They’re dependent on us.
Especially when bring us up well was because they could count on us in the future.
Maybe some of us are an only child and the family is completely dependent on us, we can’t go and run away to chase the dream and become irresponsible.
DISHONOUR is scary. We have to strike a balance between honouring them, and honouring ourselves.
We can’t let parents be an excuse to not go for what we love. We have to make the best out of the gift they gave us. It’s the only way to to Happiness – love one another.
Read this article about Parents by Niall Doherty, and its comments on the post. Everyone goes through the same things in life, it’s good for everyone to know we are all not in this alone.