About a month ago I had a falling out with my father. I accused him of never listening to us, a sentiment shared by my mother. It feels good when you shout someone down, regardless of whether you’re right or justified. But winning an argument is just that. Most of the time, nothing changes and you only serve to alienate people. I pushed him to the edge and for the first time in a long time he exploded. All the feelings he’d been bottling up came spilling out. I won’t get into the finer ones of what was said. Just that: many times we’re guilty of unmitigated arrogance and selfishness. We think that what we have to say or what we’re doing is somehow more important than what someone else has to say or is doing.

My father has been ragging on me about asking for help in getting a job. Once, he even intervened on my behalf, for an internship. I didn’t take it too kindly. On the one hand, he was being a great parent, taking care of me. On the other, I was trying to show him that I’m a big boy and that I can do things for myself, just like he’d raised me to be. This is the gap into which we both fell through. Teachers spend an inordinate amount of time teaching us about propositions and conjunctions instead of teaching us how to express ourselves simply and clearly. So much for education, but I digress.

You get so enamoured with your problems, your oh so big problems, you forget that the world isn’t just about you. Other people matter, their opinions and their feelings count too. As long as there’re other people in your life, they count, more-so if you’re where you are today because of them . We finally patched things up (another thing I learned from him: make amends quickly, forgive, move on, don’t do it again.) The take-away from this is: shut the fuck up and listen. Someone is trying to tell you something, so get your head out of your arse and listen. It’ll save you from all kinds of pains and frustrations.


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