I came from a culture where family ties are very important. When I first moved to the United States, I was stunned to see how people are disconnected from their families and their roots. People don’t talk to their parents or their siblings for years and their relationship with their children are not much better. One of the main reasons for this disconnect is that we don’t give enough training to parents. The fact is that being parents is the hardest job one would ever perform but nobody teaches you how to do it correctly.
Some cultures like Japan, we raise our children in extended families. My parents helped me tremendously when I first had my babies. My sister was always there and was a big influence on my children as well. When I grew up as a child, I was very close to my grandmother, aunt and uncle. But what I see in many American homes, that mother and father are alone in raising children. They are always running out of time and energy taking care of their work, obligations, and children. It seems that people always have conflicts and fights among parents, spouses, children and their families.
The truth is that you should be most connected and closest to your families. You were born into your family, and your ties with them never end. Why don’t we learn to cherish each other instead of being so harsh with each other because deep inside we all want the same thing — peace, love and acceptance.
Family is like roots on trees. Without having its roots solid and connected, the tree cannot grow tall or strong. Family is the foundation of our existence. It is never too late on fixing your relationships with your family. Even if your parents are already deceased, you can still have peace with them by letting go of the past and willing to accept them as who they were as they did best they could from what they knew. If you still have your parents and your children, let’s start rebuilding the connection today.
My favorite book on parenting is called “P.E.T. (Parent Effectiveness Training)” by Dr. Thomas Gordon. In this amazing book, he teaches you how to communicate (I-messages), how to listen (active listening) and how to solve a conflict (no-lose method). His teachings and methods can be used not only for parents and children but also in any relationships — at work, with friends, partners, siblings, and extended families. Even if you think you are a good parent and you have good relationships with others, please be open minded and read this book. You will be amazed to learn how much better you can communicate.
Communication is the key to opening our hearts and connecting to others. We gave up on communicating because we didn’t feel we were heard, or we couldn’t express what we wanted so others can hear. Miscommunication is the cause of disconnect in the families in America, and we can change this by using the right communication. We didn’t know how to speak, how to listen and how to solve conflicts because no one taught us even though they are the most important skills on this earth. It is my dream that all people on this earth read P.E.T. and communicate from our hearts.
Even if you start to use right communication, people around you will still keep their guards up at first because you have been fighting for long time. Be kind to yourself, but do not give up. Your commitment and effort to use the right communication skills will eventually change the relationship with everyone around you. When family members can communicate with each other, solve conflicts peacefully and share harmony, the whole world is going to change for better dramatically, drastically and rapidly.