Be a Good Listener, No Estrangement Between Daughter and Me

By Mu Guang, United States

I once watched a parent-child show, in which a teacher said, “In this world, when we want to be a lawyer, we need a certificate of lawyer; when we want to drive a car, we need a driving license. However, when we become parents, we don’t need any certificate and we just do it. The problem is that when we are parents, we need to play the role all our lives, and it seems that we don’t need to learn anything. Well, this is the role that we will play the longest time in our life, but we don’t learn how to play.” Yeah! We don’t learn how to become parents but we have to be parents over a lifetime. If parents and children can’t get along with each other, the closest loved ones will always become enemies. Thank God! It’s the leading of God’s words that makes up this lesson for me.

When my daughter Xiaomo was in her junior year of high school, due to a change of my work, I needed to work in another city with my husband, leaving our daughter studying in the original city. Later I discussed that with my husband: We don’t have high income now. The tuition fee in the school where our daughter studied is high and we also need to find a home stay for her. In this case, our expenses will be high. If our daughter can come to study in our city, our financial pressure will be less…. After our discussion, I decided to tell my daughter this thing.

Then I called my daughter and said directly, “Xiaomo, mom wants to discuss something with you.” She responded absently on the other end, “Okay, say it.” I said, “Transfer to a school in our city next term, okay?” Hearing this, she changed her tone in an instant, “What? Are you sure?” I heard she was a little resistant, so I tried to explain the reason to her calmly, “Yes. I think, first, if you transfer here, the lodging expenses can be saved; second, the tuition in the school here is low, and then another fee will be saved; third, if you transfer here, you can live with us and it’s convenient for us to take care of you. What? You will not?” My daughter said, “I have known my present classmates well and we also get along well with each other. If I go to a new environment, I’m afraid that I can’t adjust myself to it. I don’t want to go there.” Hearing that my daughter was adamant, I had to give up on this conversation.

Before long, I decided to talk with her again. One day, I specially called her and said tentatively to her, “Xiaomo, about the thing that you don’t want to transfer, I can understand your thoughts, but could you listen to my thoughts?” She said with reluctance, “Well, go ahead.” I said, “You see, you know our financial condition, I think that—” She directly interrupted me and said, “You care about nothing but money. Would you stop mentioning money? Seeing our family become like this, I have already been sad. Now you say such words; it makes me feel depressed and far away from my classmates—” Hearing her words, I couldn’t contain my anger that was suppressed long in my heart anymore. I interrupted her and said, “Look at you, what have you become? In the past, I felt that you were sensible. Now, how can you still compare with your classmates? Although our financial condition isn’t good, we don’t give less money to you. Now my wanting you to transfer is just wanting you to think of us, but you are so sad. You just think of your own feelings but not think of our family in the slightest. You are too selfish!” She felt wronged and said, “What makes you think that I should be sensible? What makes you consider things for me with your own thoughts? At school, I am not as well off as my classmates, but I didn’t say anything. How can you say I compare with my classmates? Don’t I just feel afraid because I think that I will go to a new environment? Don’t I just want to express my thoughts?” As she said, I heard that she was sobbing. I thought: You are so fragile. I just said a few words to you and you are crying. So I blamed her, “What is there to be afraid of if you change your environment? What means being depressed? You use such a word? Your living condition has been good enough, and what you eat, wear and use are the same as before. When were you short of money? Is it staying with your rich classmates long that causes you to become like this?” I vented all my grievance on her. At that time, I just had something else to do, so I said, “I’ll have a meeting right away. I’ll talk with you later.” At this word, I was ready to hang up. Unwillingly, she cried and said, “You make me so sad, but you don’t help me resolve it. You said my doing this or that isn’t right. You must speak clearly to me.” I explained again and again that I indeed had no time and then I hurriedly hung up. After that, I couldn’t help but shed my tears. I felt wronged: I have considered everything of my daughter since she was born. And I also arranged everything for her properly. Now she has really grown up and becomes disobedient. In something as small as the transfer, she has so many excuses.

Next, although I was busy doing my work every day, I would think of the conversation with my daughter now and then. I was filled with grievances and complaints toward her in my heart, unwilling to face her. I always had trouble with this thing in my heart.

In pain, I could only come before God and said to God, “God, my heart is filled with grievances toward my daughter. The bad mood always controls me and makes me upset. God, please help me cast off the disturbance of the bad mood so that I can understand Your will in the environment and correctly treat the matter of my daughter’s transfer.” Later, I read a passage in Fellowship and Preaching About Life Entry, “If you want others to listen to you, then you must be the person who obeys God and has the truth. Even if you have some reality of the truth and what you say is right and in accord with the truth, should you force others to accept it? That is unreasonable. We can only fellowship the truth so that others will understand, but whether they accept it is up to them. We are not qualified to force them. … Even though what we speak of and hold to is right and in accord with the truth, our arrogance is satanic disposition. We don’t deserve to be praised. We are not qualified. What God has and is and God’s disposition are nice and perfect. Christ is the truth, the way and the life. What He expresses is what God has and is. How come He has none of the conceit? We are not the truth, the way and the life and we don’t have much reality of the truth, but we are so arrogant and conceited. How do we compare with God? Compared to Christ, we feel so embarrassed and ashamed and have nowhere to hide. The difference is like heaven and earth.”

Pondering over these words, my heart brightened more and more. I thought of my behavior. I always took the position of a mother and thought myself superior, thinking that my daughter should listen to me and do things as I said. Although on the outside I seemed to consider our financial condition, in my heart I completely put myself first, and had demands on my daughter. I just wanted to let my daughter absolutely listen to me, so I didn’t allow her to have different opinions nor even have her own thoughts. When she was unwilling to do as I wish, I couldn’t bear it and lost my temper; I have never cared about what her real thoughts are in her heart, much less considered her difficulties and weaknesses. I’m really too arrogant. No wonder she said that I was cold and didn’t understand her. I thought that since she was born, everything in her life, big or small, are undertaken by me. I always ordered her about and made her do things according to my wishes. My relationship with my daughter is that of the superior and inferior. Thinking of these, I felt terribly culpable. I’m just a person who has been corrupted by Satan. What qualifications do I have to force others to listen to me? I thought of Christ incarnate. He is God Most High but is still humble and hidden. He just silently does work and expresses words to save us, patient and kind. He never forces us to accept nor orders us about. Seeing God’s humility and hiddenness, I felt I’m too arrogant, too unreasonable. Next, I decided to practice according to God’s words, putting aside my status and position and standing on an equal footing to communicate with my daughter calmly, like treating brothers and sisters without restricting nor controlling her.

However, when I wanted to practice like this, it once again presented difficulties for me. In the past, I was used to standing in position in front of my daughter, so I really didn’t know how to open my mouth. At the moment, I thought of God’s words: “Don’t pretend, don’t package yourself; instead, lay yourself bare, lay your heart bare for others to see. If you can lay your heart bare for others to see, and lay bare all that you think and plan to do in your heart—regardless of whether it is positive or negative—then are you not being honest?” “If people have no verbal or spiritual communication, there is no possibility of intimacy between them, and they can’t provide to each other or help one another. Do you have such a feeling? If your friend says everything to you, saying all of what they’re thinking in their heart, and what suffering or happiness they have in their heart, then do you not feel particularly intimate with them? That they are willing to tell these things to you is because you have also spoken of the words in your heart to them—you are especially close, and it is because of this that you are able to get along with them and help each other out.

In the past, to maintain my status and appearance, I always packaged myself that I had no spiritual communication with my daughter and there was filled with estrangement between us. Through reading God’s words, I had the path and direction. God’s will is to let me be able to put aside status, not using my position as a mother to force my daughter to listen to me; I should commune with her with an honest heart, open up to her about my problems and shortcomings, and understand her difficulties so that I can really share words from my heart with her, achieving our helping each other. I thought: Why have I known that I was wrong but I still felt embarrassed to apologize to her? Haven’t I still been bound and controlled by satanic vanity and face and not come down from my position? Understanding these, I decided to betray my satanic position to open up to her and dissect my corrupt nature. And also, I could ask about her realistic difficulties.

So I called my daughter. At first, I was too embarrassed to open my mouth. After about twenty seconds, my daughter said, “Mom, what do you want to say to me?” I summoned up my courage and said to her, “Xiaomo, mom first should apologize to you. In the thing of transfer, I just demanded that you accord with my own wishes but never asked your thoughts. Once I heard you were unwilling, I blamed you and said that you became fond of upward comparison, not giving you a chance to explain. I have done harm to you. If it were not for God’s words awakening me, I would still blame you. This is due to my satanic nature of arrogance and conceit. Sorry! In future, mom will certainly stand on an equal footing with you; when encountering things, I will discuss them with you and seek God’s will together with you….” As I said these, I prayed to God in my heart silently. Under God’s leading, I spoke naturally more and more.

Hearing my words like this, my daughter smiled with embarrassment and said, “When I first heard you say that to me, I was angry and sad. Later, I talked with my sisters about this thing and could understand you a little, and then I’m not angry. To be honest, I’m afraid of going to a strange environment. I didn’t adjust to this school until after about two years. If I go to another environment, I’m afraid that I can’t adjust to it. So I’m sad. But I don’t mean that I firmly don’t transfer to another school. I have also prayed to God to wait and see how God will lead me. However, you just didn’t wait for me to finish my words at all, thinking that I was selfish and didn’t think of you. So I was angry.” I felt embarrassed, smiled and said, “Alas, it’s that I’m too arrogant. I couldn’t listen to what you said at all. From now on, whenever you find any problem in me, just point it out. Without others’ help, it’s difficult for me to discover my own problems and then I will not be able to have change.” Hearing my saying this, my daughter felt embarrassed and smiled, too. She also let me point out the problems in her and wanted to correct. In this conversation, I felt the relaxation and release I had never felt.

Photo by Corbis CC BY-SA 2.0

Thank God for His leading. When I practiced according to God’s words, the estrangement between my daughter and me was removed. I also understood that I should more listen to my daughter’s heart. From then on, no matter whether her own things or the things in our family, I will discuss them with her, speak out my thoughts, and listen patiently to her thoughts and advice. When I have something unsatisfied in my work and life, I’m willing to open up to her; when something happens to her, she also likes discussing it with me. Even though we will also have different opinions and have locked horns a few times, through seeking the truth, we can treat each other correctly. Through getting along with each other like this, my relationship with my daughter has a new progress. We don’t stand in the position to blame the other party nor coax the other party to be happy, but help each other in the life of the spirit. The relationship between my daughter and me is no longer that of the superior and inferior, instead, we become real bosom friends.

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