Written by: Education expert, Principal Cheung Jok Fong
Have you ever heard the theme song of a certain TV drama called “Embrace Love”? I really like a few lines from it, as these few words capture the essence of “family.” A family is a place that provides shelter from the wind and rain, your “support.” When you’re feeling “weary,” the door of your home will always be open for you. The mentioned “love” refers to the deep-rooted bond of kinship that’s destined from the moment you were born, stronger than blood. Indeed, what could be more important than family ties? When you’re feeling down, your family will share your burdens, willing to listen to your worries and accompany you through difficulties. When you’re sick, your family will take care of you unconditionally. When you achieve success in your studies or career, they’ll genuinely rejoice and take pride in your accomplishments. This kind of “love” can’t be bought with money.
We all hope that parents and students understand the value of family love. Sadly, this love might come too easily, acquired from birth, and as a result, some don’t fully appreciate it. Sometimes, we see in newspapers that some teenagers would rather linger on the streets than go home; some families argue all day long, turning the home into a battlefield; some even resort to violence over trivial matters, leading to tragedies. The examples mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg, and sometimes I can’t help but feel saddened that a once peaceful home can turn into such a situation.
The Three Sentences of Family Life
How can we build a harmonious family? Pope Francis once proposed the “Three Languages of Family Life” when talking about family, which are the three phrases that should be spoken more at home: “Thank you,” “Please,” and “I’m sorry.”
“Thank you” represents gratitude towards family members. Many times, children are taken care of by their parents from a young age, and they may start to take it for granted. Consider this: do parents have to prepare three meals a day for you? Who washes your clothes and cleans your shoes and socks, providing you with a cleaner living environment? When you’re sick, who takes care of you tirelessly, even getting up at night to give you medicine? Classmates, while your parents are taking care of you, why not say “thank you” more often and help with household chores when you have the time, sharing the workload with them? In fact, when children complete household tasks for their parents, parents can also say “thank you” to them. In today’s society, the notion of elders being on a pedestal is no longer appropriate. You should know that in building a harmonious family, everyone has a responsibility. Don’t think that certain tasks are necessarily assigned to specific family members. Even when you receive help from others, even family members, you can still say “thank you.”
“May I ask” represents respect for family members and polite behavior towards others. Some may think that since we are family, there’s no need to be overly polite in our speech and we can just speak straightforwardly. However, “May I ask” doesn’t just encourage us to speak politely; it reminds us to consider the feelings of our family members in our words. Sometimes, people tend to get heated over trivial matters and believe that they should argue their point forcefully in all situations, even with their family members. But is it really worth it to act this way? As the saying goes, “Winning an argument but losing the family.” Even with close family members, it’s better to choose our words carefully.
As for “I’m sorry,” it represents seeking forgiveness from family members. When you make a mistake, it’s only natural to have the courage to take responsibility and say “I’m sorry” to the person you’ve hurt. At the same time, “I’m sorry” also signifies an opportunity to mend relationships with family members. Sometimes, right and wrong are not easily judged in a few words. Or perhaps, there is no clear right or wrong, but rather differences in values among individuals. Unfortunately, many conflicts arise from such differences. If no one is willing to compromise, relationships can become very tense. As the saying goes, “Give in a little, gain a lot.” Putting down your pride doesn’t mean you’re surrendering, nor is it about compromising on the issue. Instead, it creates a new opportunity to resolve the problem in a better way.