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.
So, this is what emotional and empathic maturity is like. Very beautiful and moving, Elana.
Thank you, Kurt.
This is so beautiful, Elana.
This is so profoundly beautiful, Elana. I love you too and your Dad’s love had some part in raising what I know to be one of the wisest, centered, and kind young women I know.