Ten Lessons From My Dad


A couple days ago, my dad solemnly said something that broke my heart. I learned that he thought my brother and I both love our other halves more than our parents, but that it’s okay because it’s just the way things work – Parents bring their children up, children become adults, spread their wings to fly and build their own new family.

It was hard to listen but helplessly I did. I wanted to beg to differ and deny him, but that would mean to defy the cycle of life. So I choked on impatient blocks of words queued up along my throat, anchored them to my heart and dissolved them into tears.

I am not proud that I cried. I cried because knowing that my father felt that way, made me realize that in some ways I have failed as a daughter. On the other hand, I suppose that is why the chinese have two different words for ‘love’: ‘‘ and ‘‘. The former for parents and the latter for lovers.

Our conversation turned into a “Tuesdays with Morrie” chat that took place on a chilly morning. This series, I am sharing with you is another 10 Lessons From My Dad about life and a little about love, in my own interpretation.



‘Paper can not wrap fire.’

There is no need to force what can not be changed. Make your needs known and see for yourself what is shown. A person who loves you knows what to do and what not to do.


“要会分 ‘love’ 和 ‘life’。”

“Know how to differentiate between ‘love’ and ‘life’.”

I’d always love to think of myself as a ‘realistic romanticist’. Truth is, that it is what I want to be but not who I am. Not yet.

One should never mix the two when making big decisions. Love is fun, romantic, fleeting. In the big picture, love is only a small part in real life. Life is a journey; unexpected and full of challenges. One needs to know more to survive in life. Love is not the answer to everything.



Love and give love but never forget to “Love yourself a little bit more.”


“不用去相信人家的 ‘promise’。”

There is no need to believe in promises, poems, sonnets or songs.

As a person who rarely makes promises, when I do, I keep them sacredly with absolute confidence that they will never be broken. But that’s just me.

Promises, really, are just words with an expiry date that arrives the day it is broken.



“Problems don’t have to come with panic. Keep calm. Think together, discuss together and find a solution together.”

Great advise for the talented but sometimes unwelcome drama soul in me.



“There is no need to be afraid.”

I mean this in the context of ‘worry’ and not ‘scared’. I worry a HELL lot about the slightest things – if my to-do list has more than 5 items, my heart starts to feel heavy. Thinking about an upcoming trip makes me nervous. Imagining what the future may or may not promise makes me sigh. And all these worries come with a certain amount of fear.

Hence it is important to remind myself of these 3 simple words; to have faith that the people who love me will catch me with open arms whenever I fall.



‘Remember: To be happy.”

I find this a very challenging thing to remember, leave alone practice. In a phone call with dad today, he asked me if I was happy. I was at a lost for words as no one has ever called me to ask if I am happy. He said: “I named you ‘happy’. How can you not be happy?” (‘:

True enough. My chinese name actually means: happy beautiful jade. I don’t know how you do it, but this is how I’m gonna remind myself of this lesson from now on. Because to live happy is the whole point of living, is it not?


“爱是 ‘bonus’。”

“Love is a ‘bonus’.”

Love is good to have but one doesn’t necessarily need love to survive.

This may not apply to everyone, but if you happen to be single, divorced or simply facing peer pressure, it really is not the end of the world. Which leads us to:


“最重要的是 ‘health’ 和 ‘financial stability’。”

“The two most important thing in life is ‘health’ and ‘financial stability’.”

If the lesson above is hard to remember, this one is easy to forget.

Sometimes we get carried away, lost in emotions, focusing on the wrong matters. As we push all that aside and step out from the negative zone, we should begin to see the two things that actually matter to strive in life. Sucks that reality doesn’t always seem romantic!


“这就是叫 ‘life’。”

The hardest lesson of all is for me to accept that “This is called ‘life’.”

As ridiculous as it may sound, after a problem is solved, subconsciously I find myself expecting some kind of ‘happy ending’. If only life works that way.

When you hit a bump, move on. Hit another, move on again. Always. Move. Forward.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad – a man who always thinks his daughter doesn’t remember his advises, when she completely adores and looks up to him!


Ten Lessons From My Dad from 2015 here.

You May Also Like

One comment

  1. this was amazing but i happen to disagree with lesson eight. you wrote “love is a bonus” but i think it should be love with a significant other is a bonus because love is love is love. just because someone is single, widowed or divorced doesn’t mean they don’t still have love in their lives— friends, family, offspring, colleagues… i’m sure they’ll have people who’ll be sad if they were to ever go. so maybe romantic love is the thing that should be less hyped up in all our lives.

    my favourite lesson is the fourth.

    thanks again for sharing. x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *