There is nothing more important than family, but there are many times when we struggle to maintain good relationships with them.
In the ninth and latest episode of CHiNOY TV’s Chinese by Blood, Filipino By Heart, author-entrepreneur Francis Kong shares the parallels that he has observed between growing up and raising his own children. Summing up his experiences, Kong provides personal insight on starting a modernized healthy communication with family, all the while still being able to preserve important values and traditions.
Here are what viewers have taken away from the heartwarming episode:
1. Your family is there to support you.
Sometimes, one of the hardest things to accept when you’re in the middle of a feud with your parents is the notion that they only want what they think is best for you. While growing up, for example, Francis Kong had to face constant sharp scolding from his mother for his interest in guitar.
“My mom had a very strong character,” confesses Kong. “One day, when I came home because I began to discover the beauty of the guitar as an instrument, I started strumming it and playing it. […] When she saw me, she immediately said, ‘So you like to play the guitar?’ I said, ‘Yeah, why?’ She said, ‘Why don’t you put on a pair of sunglasses, and get a tin can, and then play it in front of Quiapo Church? Because that’s what you’re going to be when you grow up.’”
At the time, Kong had felt indignant. Wanting to prove his mother wrong, he even joined a band — or a combo, as they had called it at the time. But years in the future, Kong found himself in his mother’s shoes, feeling anger surge within him when his son Brian also told him of his aspirations to become a musician.
Kong finally understood what it meant to fear for the future of his own child. In hindsight, his own mother’s anger was her hopes of him achieving a higher chance of success. After all, a passion for music hardly guaranteed that.
However, the difference between these two generations of parenting was that Kong managed to tamp down that anger. Having already once experienced the disapproval of his mother, he decided to engage in a transaction with his son. Kong would support his son’s interests in exchange for his son’s own “support.”
“Sabi niya, ‘Dad, how can I support you [when] I’m just entering college?’ I said, ‘No, you support me by taking a course as well. Baka naman you want to try entrepreneurship. Give it a try.’”
“I’ve learned that it is important to have a good relationship with our family because they’re the ones who will motivate and inspire us to achieve the best in our lives,” commented Jo Marquez.
On a similar vein, Zendon Rata Airene wrote, “One thing I’ve learned from this episode was [that] having good relationships with our family is very important because our family are the only people [who] could help us and will never leave us [regardless of] whatever happens.”
“I learned this episode [to have] a good relationship [with] our family dahil kahit anong mangyari, ang pamilya ay nandiyan lang palagi. Kahit anong hirap ng lahat, andyan sila upang tumulong at hindi pababayaan dahil ang pamilya is forever,” said Jessa Amor Dadivas.
2. Relationships are built on trust and communication.
Francis Kong once posted an article that he had written on his social media page, saying: “Many people live dysfunctional lives today because they either are still trying to live up to their parents’ expectations or are still trying to prove their parents wrong.”
“So I say, ‘I don’t want to make that mistake,’” shares Kong. Rather than saying “no” outright to something that he is not in agreement with, he prefers to embark on another conversation method: asking questions.
“Why do you think you want to do that? What do you hope to achieve if you want to do that? But the conversation is not enough. You [have] got to have a place of faith and a place of disposition or else it’s going to come out as prescriptive or investigative, which [children] hate,” says Kong.
“I’ve learned that having positive family relationships help families resolve conflict, work as a team, and enjoy each other’s company. Positive family relationships are built on quality time, communication, teamwork, and appreciation of each other,” explained Mary Joy Salinas Valdez.
Josephine Casillan commented: “Having a good relationship with your family is very important. It is always good to have a nice relationship with your family because you can gain trust, and you know that they are always there for you. Your family will always tell you the truth and will not say things they do not mean just for acceptance.
“And also having communication, quality time, appreciation, treating one another with respect, and teamwork are some of the essentials in building a strong and supportive family unit.”
3. Parenting is a two-way street.
Francis Kong is adamant that parents should realize that the times have changed.
“Mentoring now is a two-way street,” he explains. “We can never bank on the equity of our position as daddy or mommy, [and that] therefore, everything we say is law. [We have] to provide a safe avenue — to hear their voice because they want to be heard — and to get ideas from them as well. But never compromise on trust, integrity, and values that will be the very framework for their being successful in the future.”
Instead of focusing on only the side that the parent has to offer, Kong believes in listening to the other side, especially since no one — parents included — can claim to know everything. There are other better priorities to focus on.
“Two important things: Have fun. Enjoy the company. Build relationships without compromise on the values. And secondly, life is very short. Parents like us, we realize our kids are growing up fast, and we’re older faster; and so, having them — increasing the relationship now — is worth a lot more than anything that you can assign a price tag on.”
“I learned that healthy family relationships can foster a feeling of love and security in all family members. It can be one of the greatest boons parents can give to their children — a nurturing and caring environment which helps them grow into well-balanced, happy, and successful adults. As life turns full circle, kids often have the chance to repay the gift by taking care of their aging parents. Communication, quality time, appreciation, treating one another with respect, and teamwork are some of the essentials in building a strong and supportive family,” wrote Janine Teng.
Eloisa Marcelo-Ramirez also commented: “As a mom of two wonderful children, a loving parent, and a wife, it is very important to maintain a good relationship with the family as it is the foundation of a person’s well-being and totality. An open communication is very essential to any relationship because we can learn how to compromise, we learn how to listen, thus making our family’s bond more tighter and stronger.
“I have a lot of realizations upon hearing this topic, very timely to avoid hurting our children with the way we control and discipline them. I love how Mr. Kong advised parents to let our children take the path they choose [and to] let them grow. We should always be there to support them wholeheartedly for them to achieve their dreams and become the best version of themselves.”
Don’t miss the replay of this week’s episode of Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart this evening, September 11, at 6:30 PM. Catch the next episode on Sunday at 8 PM. Both episodes will air on CNN Philippines.