I am a strong believer of this: how you were raised influences how to treat others.
Many parents raise children in Fear because of the painful experiences in their own lives. The Fear stems from the belief that the world is a harsh and unkind place. Therefore for a child to survive, he or she has to be raised tough, like a machine, to win the race of life. To run alone to the finishing line, uncaring of others in the race.
In my novel Catching Infinity, I wrote that we are a reflection of Nature. Look around Nature. This meme says it beautifully:
A lovely example is my children’s father. His family didn’t have much at all. On his mother’s side, they were Spanish migrants. The grandmother went blind when my mother-in-law was only 11. She left school because of the war and also to care for her blind mother. Her aunt Tita spoke no English and my mother-in-law had to bear the responsibility that would have broken a lesser adult from a very young age. Her first fiancé died in the war and her father died when he was only in his forties. But she raised her son beautifully, without Fear.
He grew up to be a wonderful, kind and caring man.
When I first returned to Phuket, broken, he bought me a paddleboard and a life vest. he could easily have said, “Go to the gym”. But instead, he bought me a paddleboard and took me down to the beach every day. I wasn’t allowed to go far from him because in those days, my heart could go into fibrillation anytime. I had to keep my life vest on. He often swam alongside me.
In time, my fitness returned. My heart stabilised.
Yes, he could have said, “Go to the gym”. He could even say, “I’ll pay for a personal trainer to come to the house.” I would have gotten my fitness back that way, but the route would not have been as beautiful as this. Yesterday, I kayaked from Layan Beach to a deserted island 1.8km away, and as I kayaked, I reflected, learn from nature. Raise children with kindness, living for each other, so that they become people who enrich the lives of others.