Monday, March 29, 2010

Understanding others a little too late

Arrogance should not underestimate experience

As we pass through and life and grow older we experience the many encounters and challenges in life. Our attitude and opinion regarding many issues in life change with time. What we perceived as the right thing when we were young may not necessarily be so when we are older and we have our children growing up into adults. The experiences with our own children to a certain extent mold our opinion to life later.

This is the story of such a man named Jack who learnt an important lesson in his life with the passage of time. He came from a good and reasonably well to do family. As a young man Jack was highly intelligent and worked hard to become very successful in life. He met success after success and never met any major failures in all the things he undertook.

He then met a young woman, Jill and they fell in love. Soon they decided to get married and the young man approached the girl’s father for his approval. To his dismay the girl’s father disapproved of their love and refused to give his daughter in marriage. Despite trying all means the girl’s father was adamant in his decision.
Never knowing what failure was, the Jack went ahead and got married to Jill without her father’s consent and they left to begin their lives on their own in a far away town. They continued to prosper and soon had their own and only child, a Marie.Jack loved his daughter so much that she became the centre of his world. He gave everything she asked for, expensive toys, gifts, and clothes and took her to luxurious places to visit and dine. Whenever she fell ill he took her to best hospitals and doctors in town.

Soon the time came for her to go to college and as expected the father sent her to the best college in the country in a far away city. While studying in the college she fell in love with a young man of a different race who worked as a responsible government officer. He was well educated and held a high and respectable position. He was a hardworking man with a very good character and well respected man in society.

After some time they decided to get married and settle down. Marie brought her fiance to meet the father back home. Her father was surprised that his daughter has grown up so fast and even found her own life partner. Although he liked her fiancé who was of a different race but he could not accept their marriage as that would mean his daughter will soon leave him with her husband. He could not imagine his daughter whom he possessed for about 25 years would be soon “taken away” by an outsider. He spent sleepless nights at the thought of his only daughter leaving home with her new partner in life.

After a lot of persuasion by the daughter and other close friends and relatives Jack finally agreed to the marriage. However every night he would get up feeling sad and depressed at the thought of his only daughter leaving him. His wife tried her best to comfort and reassures him that everything will be alright. She reassured him that their prospective son-in-law was a very good man who will take good care of their daughter.

Reflecting on his own actions 25 years ago, Jack admitted the great mistake he had made then when he took his wife,Jill, away from her father without his approval. Despite the father-in-law’s objections he walked out on him with his only daughter. He failed at the time to understand the feelings and anxiety of his father-in-law..Now after 25years later when his own daughter is about to walk out him he began to realize how his father-in-law would have felt when his daughter was ‘snatched’ from him so cruelly with any consideration whatsoever for his emotions and feelings.

This realization brought Jack to his senses and made him repent. He went out of his way to apologise to his father-in law and the story ends with his daughter and her fiancé getting married with the blessings of the elders in both families.

Today when we have grown up children of our own we begin to understand the painful experiences of our parents in bringing us up to what we are today. We understand the pain that they would have endured when we first left home and the agony they would have undergone when we were taken seriously ill or when we met major failures. We begin to understand how they would felt when we went against their advice and pleas to do something that they were strongly against. We also realize the state of mind they would have been when we ignored them in whatever we do.

At the same time we begin to appreciate the joy, happiness and pride in them when we brought them success in school, college and in our carrier. This is the same we expect of our children to bring us but very often they do not seem to realize that as they continue to hurt as by their disobedience, rebellion and gross mistakes they make in their lives. We know they will realize many years later, how we feel about them today but I am afraid that may be little too late as life is short.

This story provides a very useful lesson to us in life in general. It is important to place ourselves in the shoes of those who do not agree with us to appreciate their fears and anxieties. It is important to understand the feelings of our actions that do not please others. If someone objects strongly to what we do or say then it is important to for us to try to understand the reasons behind his objections and unhappiness. In such a situation we should ask ourselves whether we are wrong, if so where and why we have gone wrong.

It is a pity that in many instances we seem to understand the feelings of our adversaries a little too late only when we ourselves experience the same predicament many years later. This should be a lesson for us to heed the advice of the elders who have gone through the challenges in life that we have yet to do so. We should not let the vitality and arrogance of our youth to underestimate the value of the experience of the elders. The past must be a lesson for the present and future.

PS.The names in the story are fictional.

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