When my father says to me: Don’t have as many children as I did, Elana. It’s too much.
I hear: Children are hard to raise and need a lot of attention, and having five of them has been difficult. I love my children, and I want you to have an easier time than I did. I want the best for you.
When my father says to me: Why don’t you become a real doctor? Or a lawyer?
I hear: I wanted to be a doctor and we couldn’t afford it. I think being a doctor is one of the best professions anyone can have. You are so smart, I know you would be a good one.
When my father says to me: Why do you volunteer? Stop wasting your time on things you don’t get paid for.
I hear: You are valuable and your time is valuable. You have a lot to contribute to the world, and you deserve to be paid for your work. I’ve never had the experience of service, and I don’t understand it.
When my father says to me: Elana, if you ever need a lawyer, find the most crooked one you can. He will do whatever it takes to win.
I hear: I’ve been taken advantage of by many people, and I’ve lost a lot of money. I don’t want others to take advantage of you.
When my father says to me: Why don’t you marry someone from your own culture?
I hear: My marriage was not easy, and I think it was because we were from different countries. You deserve to be happy in your marriage, and this is how I think you can.
When my father says to me: Forget about your passion, and make as much money as you can so you can be happy. Making money is most important.
I hear: I grew up very poor, and my life was very hard in a very poor country. I don’t want that for you. You live in a rich country with a lot of opportunity and money means an easier life, which I want you to have.
When my father says to me all of the things that I used to judge and become angry about in my youth, I can now hear what he was really saying:
Elana, I love you.