This morning, while my husband went for his daily walk, accompanied by our middle son, the other two stayed home and played a game of chess. I had woken up quite late, so I was doing my quiet time late, which was not the best thing since I was very much distracted by the loud sounds of two boys arguing and fussing over the chess moves. Both are so smart and so competitive. Whatever happened to meek and mild? I’m not sure hubby and I got blessed with that type in our household. But I was impressed at their intelligence and strong will to thrive, especially the youngest one holding his own while trying to beat his accomplished brother who’s five years his senior. I was also happy that they were finally off their electronics and sparring together over a semi-board game.
The ironic thing is that on our wedding day, a relative commented aloud that I was gentle and kind so no wonder I married Philip, who also impressed my relatives and family as the gentle and kind type. Ha! Little did they know the truth behind our masks! Maybe it’s not surprising that all our offsprings are just the opposite–rambunctious, assertive (hopefully not aggressive), strong, and even tough. Do “opposites attract”? Or, does “like attracts like”?
The Chinese yin and yang philosophy postulates that there’s a binary dynamic force at work in life. For example, there’s male vs female, masculine vs feminine, black vs white, light vs darkness, good vs evil, young vs old, left vs right, weak vs strong, rich vs poor, etc… Not only that, but within yin, there exists a little of yang, and vice versa, within yang, there exists a little of yin. They are both independent and interdependent of each other.
How does this relate to you as a spouse or a parent? Simple–we learn from each other. We need each other. Our strengths may just be what our spouses need to overcome their weaknesses, and vice versa–they have unique qualities that are helpful to us. Husband and wife at times comfort and other times challenge each other. Similarities can bond a couple together in marriage but differences are vital to igniting the love or keeping the fire of unity going, if that’s not an oxymoron. In lay terms, what doesn’t kill us can make us stronger!**
Parents lead and teach children while also get humbled by our young. I learn from my children about all my shortcomings. It’s not fun to be humbled, but it’s necessary. My children continually keep me authentic, transparent, and down to Earth while I try to soar as a leader. The blessing is in the pain and suffering.
As a confession, before I decided to go ahead and write East Meets West Parenting book, I enjoyed parenting very much. I received consistent praises from family and friends and felt that I had wonderful kids. I often went to bed happy, thinking that I’m blessed to be in a profession (social work and counseling) that has prepared me for raising kids well. However, during the last few years of writing my book, the journey became harder as the stakes became higher. My kids seemed to be more disobedient, more difficult to teach and discipline, and I seemed to be losing more patience and self control as I was being tested. Since publishing my parenting book, I’ve experienced turmoil after turmoil with parenting. What the heck? What just hit me? How did this happen? Yin, yang, back to yin and now yang. The swirling opposites continue to swirl around each other and through each other as I experienced the highs and lows of this journey, like other moms and dads.
Can you see the yin yang of your marriage? Hang in there.
Do you see the duality at work in your child raising? Let’s talk about it by sharing a comment below!
**Please note: These comments pertain only to nonviolent relationships. Situations with domestic violence and child abuse are exceptions that require outside interventions.