By Vina Tan, Family Consultant in Jakarta, blog: sangkudaapi.blogspot.com
"What happen if your children don't want to listen to your advice?"
"Do you get angry and keep on criticizing them for not obeying you?"
If yes, you are probably on the brink of making them stay away from you. You think your advice is good for them and if they don't listen, you are getting upset. It is not easy to become parents nowadays, isn't it? And, we need to become a better communicator in order that our children would listen to us. So, even when we have to criticize them, they still could accept. In other words, how we talk to our children is important to make them pay attention to what we say.
For people who don't want to be criticized, there is a famous Chinese saying:
"liang(2) yao(4) ku(3) kou(3)" or "good medicine tastes bitter" (please note that each number inside the bracket represents the phonetics used to distinguish different meanings in Chinese language). And, this proverb was gracefully explained in a story as follows:
Once upon a time in China, there lived a king who couldn't accept any critique. Everybody in the kingdom should follow what he said. As a result, he was surrounded by people who got used to praise him and high ranking officials who were incompetent to help the king run the empire. One day, when the enemy came to attack this kingdom, no one was able to protect and defend their country. Everybody flew away like a bird. Fortunately, the king, accompanied by his loyal servant was able to escape using a horse-drawn carriage. When the king was hungry and thirsty after hours fleeing his palace, the servant gave him delicious food to eat.
"How could you have this?" asked the King.
"I always prepare things for you, Your Highness to anticipate if one day when we have to flee this country, you can still survive." answered the loyal servant
"How did you know that one day I have to leave my kingdom?"
"I predicted long before it happened today."
"Why didn't anybody tell me?"
"You only wanted to hear admiration, adulation and adoration, Your Highness. If I told you before, I believe you would send me to the gallows. And, if I were dead, no one would accompany you today."
When the servant finished his words, the King lost his temper and his face was swollen from an outburst of anger. All of a sudden, he blamed and condemned his servant. The loyal servant was very upset and realized that the King would never ever change. He thought that even in this kind of difficult situation, the king was still heartless and ruthless. In order to avoid further conflict, the servant rephrased his words, "Your highness, I'm deeply sorry for what I've said. It's all my fault. Please forgive me."
Both of them remained silent till the King started the conversation again.
"Tell me, why do I have to leave my beloved kingdom and its people?"
"Cause you are very kind, Your Highness."
"But, why a good king like me could not enjoy his life in the palace and have to go into exile instead?"
"Unfortunately, as a kind-hearted king, you were not supported by good people. They all envy your wisdom and indirectly they forced you to leave your country."
Feeling dazzled, the king laid down his head on the servant's lap and felt asleep. Looking at the king, the servant thought that it was time for him to leave this silly and stupid emperor who didn't have the ability to run and rule his own kingdom. The servant then moved the king's head from his lap slowly and carefully and then walked away. After being left alone, the King who didn't know how to take care of himself was found dead.
Moral of the story: It's impossible to make progress in any aspect of your life if you don't want to be criticized. Criticism is just like a good medicine that tastes bitter. However, it has the power to penetrate deep into your inner organs and cure the disease.
Next time, please don't be upset if your children ignore what you've said to them. You can use the story I've just shared with you to remind them how important an advice or critique to make progress in life. I believe if you use this approach, you will be surprised to witness the power of storytelling to enhance your message to your beloved children.
Source: A Chinese book called 'Ren(2) Sheng(1)' - Making Your Choice in Life.