I grew up in a big and traditional family. My parents punished us when we made mistakes or did something that went against the family rules. I hate this kind of parenting, but when I became a mother myself, I discovered that I followed the same routine with my children. Whenever they did something inappropriate, I scolded them right away. I always thought this was an effective teaching method until they started pushing back. That's when I started observing and changing my own behavior.
Teaching by scolding or punishing assumes people will be scared of this consequence and will stop doing these things again. It also assumes that people are free to choose their behavior. Is that really the case? Are we really free to choose what we do? I have my doubts. People are not free, there is always a reason behind everyone’s behaviors. Some are driven by habits, some by their belief sets, some are physically constrained, and some are driven by the necessity of own karma or perhaps even their ancestors.
When I realize people are not quite as free to choose, I won’t be irritated as often and I can accept these actions more easily. I drop my judgment and simply am there for them. With this mindset, with this acceptance, suddenly there is space for the healing.
By Su Zhen