Happy Family Life

Enjoying a happy family life


Sifu, our school is noted for happy family life, and you are a shining example. What in your experience is the most important factor that makes a family happy and united?

-- Sifu Maxime Citerne, France


In my experience the most important factor that makes my family happy and united is our regular family day. We have our family day at least once a month, usually once a week. If I include dinners together at restaurants as family days, it will be a few times every week when I am not teaching overseas.

In our typical family day, we will all get into my comfortable multi-purpose vehicle, which can seat seven persons, and drive to the countryside or some towns far away. We would stock the car with drinks and tit-bits for our pleasure. There are three main activities in the car -- chatting, admiring the scenery or taking a nap. The scenery never fails to captivate me although I have seen it many times in my domestic travels.

One particular scene I remembered very well was in a rural area about 50 kilometers away from Sungai Petani where I live. I saw an open field with porcelain cranes. When we approached I realized there were real. One of them decided to soar into the sky! I saw this lovely scene more than 20 years ago with my wife and children when my wife was beautiful and my children still small.

I had wanted to see the scene again with the porcelain-looking cranes, but could not find it because the first time we ventured into it was by chance. But recently during a family outing we came to the same scene again with the porcelain-looking cranes, also by chance. My wife is still very beautiful but my children have grown up and are married. This time my grandson, Rowan, was with us. I even thought that the cranes could be the same.

We eat out very often, partly because restaurant food in Malaysia is delicious and cheap, and mainly because it offers a good opportunity for the family to be happily together. Again there is a lot of talking, but no napping. There is also no playing of computer games on one's mobile phone, a feature, unfortunately, that is very common in other family gatherings.

A few times when I took my wife out, we were initially surprised but later amused to find many young couples dropping their heads to play computer games on their individual mobile phones, instead of holding hands or at least chatting with each other. There should be a rule, enforced by authorities if necessary, that no courting couples or family members in a family gathering can play games on their mobile phones! This rule, if there is one, would not affect my wife and me, for despite being married for over 40 years, we found ourselves busy chatting on unimportant things.

Reproduced from February 2015 Part 3 in Selection of Question-Answer Series


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