“Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
It was a day of August, I was drinking tea on my patio and my 3 and half year old son was playing around me.
I have to confess that even though I have already raised two daughters, I’m actually not a very good dad in many ways . I’m usually a quiet person when I’m preoccupied with things and especially at times of rest and wondering.
My son, however, was hitting walls with his baby guitar.
Since he was annoying me, I yelled at him, and he started to cry and walked away to his mom.
Within a few minutes he was back, saying, “Daddy, I want to talk to you.”
“Daddy, why do you become so rude to me?
I’m a good boy. You also better be a good boy, Daddy.”
This was a hard ball for me on my head, my son hit the ball right on my head. I was short-tempered and rude.
I realized that I’d spent many years as a short tempered rude dad. At that moment, I also realized I need to change. But how?
Most importantly, I realized that raising my son was not about correcting his shortcomings and yelling at him. He could correct himself at some point in the future. I was worried how I would nurture this precocious strength that he displayed at an age under 4.
This was an amazing learning experience for my social intelligence.
I asked myself how I could read the desires, needs, and emotions of my son with reasonable accuracy.
As I said, I’d raised two daughters already. Raising children, I know now little bit, is far more than just fixing what was wrong with them.
Kids bring amazing strengths with them which we don’t know.
It is about identifying and amplifying their strengths and virtues, and helping them find the niche where they can live these positive traits to the fullest.
If we achieve this as a dad, I guess, all dad would be very happy in their lives.
I was wondering what might be the reason that I was unhappy and showing short temper at my 3 and half year old son.
I got some answers from Junki.
One day I met a woman in a baby care center because I was looking for a good baby care center for my son.
Her name was Junki, as she said, in our conversation.
She was working in a care center for the last 15 years.
I found that Ms Junki’s work is one of the most important parts of her life. She was very happy that she is in the line of work to look after kinder babies.
When she expressed her feelings I realized that what she does for living is a vital part of who she is.
It is one of the first things she tells people that she loves babies, she wants to be around them so she works in the baby care center.
She told me she usually takes her work home with her, she even takes her work on vacation too.
Ms Junki feels very inspired about her work because she loves it everyday.
She told me she thinks her small step helps to make the world a better place.
During our conversation, I knew that Junki doesn’t have any kids of her own as God didn’t permit her to have.
But I didn’t find any pinch of unhappiness in her face.
She encourages everyone to love and nurture children and make children a priority because what kind of world we are creating depends on them.
At one point she told me, as a parent we don’t have to do giant things, just control the temper and love them.
It made me speechless.
Ms Junki told me she would be really unhappy if she were forced to stop working, she is not interested in retirement until her body allows her to perform the work.
“The most important thing in my life is not to find the right job, there is no such thing that exists, it is basically finding the job I can make a Calling through recrafting. The recrafting process, whatever we do in life, brings the most happiness to us”, Junki said.
After working so many years with so many high profile educated MBAs, PhDs, and MDs; I realized that human strengths like integrity, kindness, dedication, and love for anything are not the same things as talents.
Human strengths are moral traits but talents are non-moral.
Junki taught me what the differences are between a job, a career, and a Calling.
Many of us do a job for the paycheck at the end of the week or month, we don’t see any other interests in it.
Job simply becomes the obligation of life for example to support the family.
When there is no wage we simply quit and look for another job and repeat the same process.
This does not bring any happiness at all in our lives.
In the end of the day, this simply helps us to grow as a short-tempered and rude person.
And obviously, an unhappy creature!
There is another thing in life: a career, which is a deeper personal investment in our work than a job.
In career, we measure each achievement through money, advancement, and prestige.
We obviously seek promotion, prestige, power, and , of course, more money.
We become assistant lawyers or assistant professors or assistant managers in the beginning, and then become full lawyers or full professor or senior manager after a few years of working.
When there is no more promotion, we start to look for something else, because this is required for gratification and meaning in life.
There is no doubt, if there is no promotion and no more money coming, we look for other options.
We remain still unhappy because inherently we remain unsatisfied with our own life so we come home and yell at our own kids.
Just think for a second, what kind of parents yell at their own kids?
Of course, those who are short tempered, rude, and unhappy in their own life.
As Ms Junki taught me, there is one more important thing in life, a Calling, which is a vocation rather than a job or career.
As we all know very few people have this vocation in life.
This is a passionate commitment to work for our own satisfaction.
This is also called fulfillment.
If we have a Calling, we see our work for a greater reason, work becomes something larger than ourselves.
Work becomes fulfilling in its own way irrespective of money, advancement, and prestige.
There is no money, no promotion, no prestige, but work continues in life for joy and self satisfaction.
Any job can become a Calling, and any career can become a Calling.
A teacher who views the work only as a job cannot have a Calling but a baby carer who sees the work as a contributor to make the world a nicer and responsible place can have a Calling.
If we have a Calling in our life, we mostly remain happy in our life, we don’t yell at our own kids at home, we don’t lose our temper on them.
Remember, Gregor Mendel didn’t have a job or career in genetics, he ran his famous genetic experiments as a hobby and later turned his hobby into a Calling.
Benjamin Franklin didn’t make his work either job or career, he ran many lightning rod experiments due to his own interest, which later turned into a Calling.
Emily Dickinson’s job or career was not to write poetry, she started to write poetry to create an order in her own life that later turned into a Calling.
I thought to myself how do I value myself as a dad? A good dad or a rude dad.
Can I measure my worth like a piece of diamond that keeps shining all the time?
If my inner worth was this clear to me, I would not make these words and I would not yell at my own son.
This isn’t simple to measure our self worth so I am keen to make a few words about this and realize what’s wrong with me.
My son, I know looking at me at this very moment is very happy now because he already forgot my yelling.
He is having the purest mind at age 3 and half.
I believe he is the most genuine and pure-of-heart at the moment.
When complete strangers see him, he runs towards me as his dearest person.
Each time he sees the animal, he begins crying and runs towards me for protection.
I provide him comfort in a time of fear.
But why do I yell at him?
Probably, because I am not happy inherently with my own life and transferring my venom to my son at home.
I have not figured out my own Calling yet in my life.
As a dad, this confused me initially, but I realize now that it is simply my son’s genuine heart and mind reaching out to me in a time of need.
There is nothing but joy in my heart as I write about the wonderful son I know.
I can only dream of becoming the best dad I believe I could be.
I know my real and authentic happiness appears when I identify and cultivate my most fundamental individual strengths and use them all the time as much as I can in my work, love, and parenting life.
There is a Chinese proverb I always recite, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit fortune. If you want happiness lifetime, help somebody.”
How can I help others and be happy as I can not help and understand my own little son at home?
Remember, the cure of anything is uncertain in our life, but prevention is amazingly effective. Just think of how getting midwives to wash their hands ended childbed fever.
Just think of how immunizations ended polio.
Likewise, ending a short temper and rudeness isn’t a cure but a prevention of becoming an unhappy person.
Good life is something beyond a pleasant life, and a meaningful life is something beyond a good life.
As Ms Junki said, one step closer to a meaningful life is controlling a short temper and not yelling at our own kids at home.
One step closer to a meaningful life is turning our job or career into a Calling and connecting the world with what we do everyday consistently.
These are the secret sauces of happiness.
Remember everyone, good things obviously come to those who have patience, foresight, and love so don’t lose your temper with your own kids at home.
Thank you for your time.
“Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.” ~ Benjamin Franklin