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Father’s First Apology to Son Within 20 Years
By Sun Liang, China
Wang Hao opened the door after a tiring day, what he saw was the messy dining table scattered with some instant noodles packaging and a bowl of leftover soup. Thinking that his son ate instant noodles everyday, Wang Hao felt upset. He kept repeating in his heart: “Why can’t you apologize to me? Wouldn’t it be nice if you apologize early?” At this time, Wang Hao’s thoughts went back to one month ago …
Ning Ning is already twenty plus years old; without discussing with him Wang Hao borrowed money and bought him a new house for his marriage. Then, he also told his son to give him half of his salary to repay for the house. The first month, his son did give half of his salary, which made Wang Hao feel happy. In the second month, Wang Hao thought: As long as my son gives me half of his salary this month, plus the money that I have saved, I can repay some debts. But things didn’t go as he wanted. In the second month, his son refused to give him his money. He then asked his son bewilderedly, his son said: “I just don’t want to pay.” Because his plan was disrupted, Wang Hao felt angry, but he suppressed his anger, and taught his son a “lesson”: “Ning Ning, you’ve already grown up, why are you still immature? Why do you spend money recklessly? Don’t you know how to spend money at the right place? We should learn to save money, and pay our debts as soon as possible.” But unexpectedly, his son replied impatiently: “I earned the money, so I can spend the money however I want. I don’t care if you buy a house. In truth, I didn’t ask you to buy it. I listened to everything you said since I was young and you decided everything for me. You never give me any freedom.” This reply made Wang Hao’s anger explode. He yelled: “Isn’t my buying the house for you? Without you, do I need to buy a house? You are so immature!” After this argument, Wang Hao didn’t want to say anything to his son and he couldn’t calm his heart down. Thinking he has paid so much effort for his son, but his son didn’t understand him and still argued with him, he felt so upset. Before, his son never dared to contradict him. This unexpected argument made Wang Hao feel his dignity as a father had been hurt.
Wang Had recalled: When his son visited his grandfather when he was five, his grandparents loved him so much and let him play whatever he wanted. But Wang Hao thought his son was too naughty. Worrying that his parents will spoil his son too much, Wang Hao decided to take his son back home, but his son started crying and refused to go back home. Wang Hao then slapped his son angrily. Finally, his son had no choice but to apologize to him with tears and pouted back home. When his son was ten years old, he went out with his cousin. Wang Hao set a curfew for him, and asked him to get back home early. That evening his son got back home late. Wang Hao scolded him and forced him to admit he was wrong, and promise not to do it again. Although, his son looked unhappy, he had no choice but to admit his wrong doing. Afterwards, when his son was in junior high school, Wang Hao thought that it was not safe for him to travel on his own; his son would play games when he was home, so he decided to let his son live on campus. His son refused because he didn’t like the environment in school for it was not as clean as his home. But things that Wang Hao had decided were hard to change. Although, his son was reluctant, he had to agree with him. Wang Hao even chose a profession for his son in college. All those years, no matter what Wang Hao asked his son to do, even though his son was reluctant, but he didn’t dare to rebel against his father, so Wang Hao got used to his son’s apology. This time he still waited for his son to apologize to him. But things didn’t go as he expected. Many days have passed, his son always ignored him. His son’s action showed his dissatisfaction against Wang Hao, which made Wang Hao even more angry. He wanted to give his son a lesson. So when his wife was on a business trip, he didn’t cook for his son, because he wanted to force his son to apologize to him. But his stubborn son still didn’t admit his mistakes. The cold war between the father and the son still continued.
Looking at the instant noodles packaging, how Wang Hao longed for his son to apologize, so that he could also find a reason to forgive him, but his son would rather continue this situation than apologize to him. Wang Hao also thought to forgive his son, but he couldn’t put down his dignity as the father. It was too hard for him to reconcile with his son. When he was struggling, he thought of God’s words he had read before, so he quickly opened the book. God’s word says: “When parents talk down to their child and say, ‘I’m your father (or mother)! You must do as I say!’ the child takes exception to this ‘must’; it’s definitely not an expression of normal humanity. … If both sides lived by normal humanity, and if they were able to reach possession of the truth, with both sides putting themselves in each other’s shoes, and taking into account each other’s difficulties, from the perspective of normal humanity, and both sides standing on an equal footing when they interacted, spoke to each other, and did things, would this stop the estrangement developing between them? What causes what the unbelievers call the ‘generation gap’? Isn’t it that the older generation acts high and mighty, and the younger generation doesn’t like them doing so, which produces the estrangement, and leads to the generation gap—isn’t that how it comes about? If parents don’t act high and mighty, and the children can open up to them, and treat them as intimates, could there still be the estrangement between them? … Precisely because a parent always assumes their place as a parent and will not budge from it, keeping that status from which they will not come down, their child becomes at odds with them. A lot of things really result from the parent always assuming their place as such and taking themselves too seriously; they always see themselves as the parent, the elder: ‘Regardless of when, you won’t get escape from your mother’s (or father’s) control; you’ll still have to listen to me. You are my child. The fact of this doesn’t change, regardless of when.’ This viewpoint makes them miserable and wretched, and makes the child miserable and exhausted. Isn’t this the case? Is this not a manifestation that one doesn’t understand the truth? How is the truth to be practiced in this case?”
After reading God’s words, Wang Hao was shocked, thinking: “God’s words are too practical. It’s like the words are referring to myself, isn’t that what I am? I always use my power as a father in front of my son, and force him to listen to me. I always use the tone of blame when I communicate with him, and always think that everything I have done for him is right, is all for his own good, and that he should understand me, and accept it.” Then Wang Hao thought: No matter what his son did when he was young, he didn’t give him freedom, and even set curfew for him when he played outside; when his son made mistakes, he would scold him without asking any reason; now he has already grown up, and has his own thoughts, and he wants to buy things he likes, chooses the profession he likes, however, Wang Hao didn’t respect his son’s opinions, or understood his difficulties, and his feelings. He just forced his son to accept his preferences, but didn’t think to have a heart-to-heart talk with his son, or rely on God’s words to enlighten his son, bringing him before God. He always uses his power as a father, uses his own view to educate his son. No wonder, as the time goes, their relationship becomes more and more estranged, and the generation gap gets deeper. At this time, Wang Hao was awakened. He realized the importance of the problem. He really wanted to remove the generation gap between him and his son and get along well with him. But because of the dignity as a father, he still didn’t have the courage to have a heart-to-heart talk with his son.
When he was struggling, he began to find the right path to practice in God’s words. He saw God’s words say: “How is the truth to be practiced in this case? (Letting go of your pride.) What does one let go of? Some people say, ‘If you don’t allow me to be your parent, I’ll stop working, and you support yourself. I won’t pay any attention to you, I won’t take any responsibility.’ Is this letting go? … So, what is ‘letting go’? What principle do you apply in doing things that is ‘letting go’? What point of view, what attitude do you apply that is really ‘letting go’? Do you know how to put it into practice? You haven’t been a parent, and you don’t know what a parent’s attitude is, what their concerns are, right? Actually it’s simple. Just be an ordinary person: Treat your children, treat those in your own family the same as you would an ordinary brother or sister. Although you have a responsibility, a relationship, a fleshly relationship, nevertheless the position and perspective you should have is the same as with friends or ordinary brothers and sisters. That is, you can’t control, you can’t restrain your children, and always try to keep in command and have complete control over them. Let them make mistakes, let them say the wrong things, let them do childish and immature things, do stupid things. No matter what happens, sit down and calmly talk with them, communicate and seek. Don’t you think this attitude is good? Isn’t it right? So, what is being let go here? (Position and pride.) It is the letting go of the position and status of a parent, the airs of a parent, and all of the responsibility one thinks they should assume, everything that one thinks they should be doing as a parent; instead, it’s enough that one does the best they can in terms of their responsibility as an ordinary brother or sister. Would you say that’s easy to do? (It’s not easy.) Why? (Because people have expended effort; they feel that they gave birth to the child, it’s them who raised it. They think, ‘I should be in charge of you, I should be telling you off, I have the right to do so.’) That’s right. The parent does not have the right to take charge of others, and others would not let them. They cannot take charge of anyone else; they wouldn’t dare to. It wasn’t easy to get to the position of a parent, so how could they not want to occupy that position all their lives? It has by no means been easy for the parent to find themselves with someone to take charge of, so isn’t it natural they want to do so right to the end? And many parents think they are always right. ‘As long as it’s for the child’s sake, what I’m doing is right.’ They really have such thoughts and points of view. How could you not make mistakes? You too are a corrupted human being, how can you determine that you are without error? As long as you admit that you do not possess the truth, that you are a corrupted human being, then you have errors and you can make mistakes. You can make mistakes, yet at every turn how is it that you try to take charge of your children, and have them at every turn listen to you? Is this not an arrogant disposition?” Wang Hao pondered God’s words, and realized that he always treated his son strictly, didn’t allow him to go wrong, but he never reflected on himself whether he was right or wrong. He always forced his son to obey him, thinking what he had done was good for his son and that his son should listen to him unconditionally. He never thought of letting go of the position and status of a parent, and listened to any of his son’s opinions. He finally realized that he was too arrogant! From God’s words, Wang Hao saw God’s essence is beautiful, and that the truth expressed by God is all positive, which includes God’s love for man and His thoughtful intention. God wishes to see that all human beings can obtain the truth under His watering, have a better relationship with others, and live out a normal humanity with happiness, not tormented or fooled by Satan anymore. Wang Hao thought: Although he believed in God, he didn’t understand God’s heart, nor did he practice God’s words. He was controlled by satanic disposition, and always did things that disappointed God. The more he thought about it, the more uncomfortable and guilty he felt, so he encouraged himself to put down his dignity as a father and practice God’s words. He didn’t want to live relying on arrogant disposition anymore. He decided to talk to his son, and apologize for all the harm he caused to him in the past few years.
Wang Hao walked to his son’s door, however, he wandered for some time there. Every time when he wanted to open the door, his vanity started to work. He still couldn’t lower himself down. So he went back to his room and prayed: “O God! I want to put down the dignity as a father, and put down the vanity inside me to practice your words, but my corruption is so deep, and it’s too hard for me to lower myself down. O God! Please give me power, so that I can defeat my corrupt dispositions …” After praying, Wang Hao had the power to practice the truth. He took a deep breath, opened his son’s door, sat beside his son and said gently, “Ning Ning, let’s have a heart-to-heart conversation.” Ning Ning was stunned for a moment. A little embarrassed, he looked at Wang Hao and then lowered his head down, pretending to play with his phone. Wang Hao said, “I have been too harsh on you, never considered or understood your thoughts, but forced you to do things that I asked you to do. If you don’t listen to me, I will get angry. I am too arrogant.” His son listened attentively. Seeing his son’s attitude towards him get better, Wang Hao paused for a while and continued saying: “I always think that since you are my son, I can control you. No matter what I do, as long as I think it is something good for you, you should listen, and I always force to add my own opinions to you, decide everything for you, not listening to your opinions and your ideas. For all these years, I kept controlling over you. But from now on, I will not do this again. If something happens, we can discuss it together.” His son was ashamed of himself, looking at his father with a smile on his face, and the hate in his eyes disappeared. He said, because he bought a new game console, he did not leave much money this month. He didn’t dare to tell the truth, but promised to pay half of his salary next month. After hearing that, Wang Hao felt relaxed. Their relationship got closer. At that time, Wang Hao remembered that his son did not eat well for many days already, then he raised his voice purposely: “Ning Ning, what do you want to eat? I will buy for you!” He never expected that his son replied: “Let us not spend money, just cook at home.” His son didn’t like his cooking. If it was in the past, his son would not hesitate and say what he wanted to eat and let Wang Hao go to buy for him. That day, his son wanted to eat the food that he cooked, which really made Wang Hao touched. He realized his son was not immature, but he and his son lacked communication, and he was not willing to lower himself down. All of these brought harm to his son, and also caused generation gap.
After they had a heart-to-heart conversation, the generation gap between them disappeared. Wang Hao felt relieved, and had an unspeakable happy. He recalled that when he saw his son and his wife talk happily, he envied them very much. Now Wang Hao can also open his heart and talk to his son, their relationship becomes closer. Sometimes they also fellowship God’s words together, and he doesn’t ask his son to do things according to his will. He never expected that his son would become more cautious and obedient than before. After experiencing this matter, Wang Hao knows that only by practicing God’s words can he have a normal humanity, and have a good relationship with his son. It is God’s word that changed him. Thank God, all the glory be to Him.
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