I was 20 years old when my parents dropped me at the university. My mother hugged and kissed me.
She said, “We have raised you well and from here onwards it’s your life, you make your own decisions, we will never interfere in any of your decisions. If you need your parents, you come back to us. As far as we are concerned, our responsibility is over and take care. If you think your parents are important, you call us, and you come back to us, otherwise we know that you can look after yourself”.
She never called me again, never complained that I did not visit her during my breaks and holidays. She just set me free. For the first time in my life, I had 100% of complete freedom.
I found myself calling her every week once or twice, I started to head back to my hometown during my breaks and holidays and I realised she raised me well. I realised the moment she set me free, the more I looked for her. The more I missed her, the more I loved her.
She told me, “Do what is right and you don’t have to ask us when making decisions. Learn to make your decisions on your own, learn to make the right decision and learn to make mistakes fast so you will learn from your mistakes and grow wiser”.
I use this principle in my consulting work until today. I tell my clients to make mistakes fast and learn from their mistakes while I’m still here, as their consultant. Once you are on your own, you can’t afford to make costly mistakes. This is what my mother had taught me; learn to lead your life and learn to lead your family when we are no longer around. She prepared me well to face the challenges that life was going to throw at me when she was no longer around to guide me. My wife and I are truly clear that our responsibility is to prepare our only daughter to face the world on her own after our departure. Life is not only about education; my daughter needs to learn the life skills and values to live by which my parents passed on to me.
There are 12 of us in the family including my parents. My parents have set a simple rule for us; the younger ones must respect the older ones, period. So being the youngest in the family of 10 was not an easy task for me. My tolerance level is extremely high due to that one rule. We live by that one rule until today, and by God’s grace, my family is always united.
Some of my mother’s best advice to us:-
Keep your family problems within your four walls.
Don’t bring back your family problems to your parent’s house, it’s your family, you handle it.
I am not interested to know your in-laws issues, you handle it.
I will never interfere in your family affairs. If you need any advice, yes, we will guide you or else you handle it.
For the daughters, you are married out of the family when you come back to this house, you are walking in as a guest. The power is in the daughters-in-law’s hand and they set the rules. And you can set rules in your in-law’s family because once you are married out of this family, your in-law’s family is your new family and it is your responsibility to look after that family’s wellbeing.
These five rules are keeping my big family of 45 members a single unit until today.
On my first wedding anniversary, she blessed us, and she told me that, “I am done with all my responsibilities. All my 10 children are married and living a good life. Even if I die today, I’m complete and I’m done”. Two weeks later she had a heart attack on 16th of September 2008 and she passed on at the age of 70. She left us with lots of values and principles to live by.
About the author
A.Santhakumaran ACXS is the founder of CX Expert Asia and a Global Customer Experience Consultant. He has been appointed as one of the judges for the North American Customer Centricity Award 2020 and he is also the only Accredited Customer Experience Specialist that carries the designation ACXS in Malaysia. You can follow him in www.linkedin.com/in/santhakumaran