By Yuyu Chiang
One day, in the car, I lost my temper with my son. That day, the weather was rather cold in the morning, so my son and I both wore long-sleeved coats. After we came back from our errand, the weather became much warmer. My son couldn’t wait for the car’s air conditioning to turn on, so he opened the windows.
After a while, I closed the windows and took off my coat, telling my son to do the same. However, he told me that he didn’t feel too hot anymore and that leaving his coat on would feel fine. At the moment, I felt that he was being defiant on purpose so I hardened my tone and told him to remove his coast. The result was like the story of the north wind and the sun. I was the north wind – the more I wanted him to take off his coat the more he refused to. He said that he just didn’t feel hot anymore, so why did I keep trying to force him to take it off?
At that time, my emotions are high, so I got angry at my son’s attitude. I raised my voice and said, “Just a moment ago you said it was hot and opened the window, and later I felt that it was hot too and took off my coat, so I wanted you to do the same. Then you say that you don’t feel hot anymore – aren’t you just being defiant on purpose?”
My son, anxious from my yelling, also raised his voice and said, “I just don’t feel hot anymore! I don’t feel hot! You’re not me so how can you know what I feel?” After listening to that, I was still angry so I didn’t respond to him. I thought to myself that I won’t bother caring about my son’s business anymore. So with a tense silence, I drove all the way home.
On the way home, my son once again told me that he just wasn’t hot and didn’t want to take off his coat, and that he has his own judgement and so on. Once I become angry, however, I need time to cool down and become reasonable, so I didn’t reply to anything my son said for the rest of the car ride.
After returning home for some time, my anger cooled and I thought about the situation. I realized how irrational my behavior was, and how I acted as the commanding, authoritative adult rather than communicating kindly with my son. I even refused to apologize. I decided that when one makes a mistake, one should fix it immediately. Such behavior would leave a bad example for my son, and I did not want him to grow up and treat his children like that.
Finally, I said to him, “Son, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have talked to you like that. From now on I will properly communicate with you and respect your thoughts.” My son smiled and nodded to me. I knew he understood, and he saw a lesson that he could learn: a transition from the North Wind to the Sun.
Translation: Ireen Chau