5 Steps to Having A Better Relationship With Your Asian Parent (Part 2 of 5) - (3 minute read)

So hopefully you've read the first step and taken some time to flesh out WHY you want to improve your relationship with your parents. What's next?

**Click Below To Listen** 

My WHY for trying to have a better relationship with my dad is because if I know him better, I can know myself better. The more self-aware I am, the better person I can be to everyone in my sphere of influence.

Click for Step 1 (Why?)

Click for Step 3 (How?)
Click for Step 4 (When?)
Click for Step 5 (Who?)


Years ago, the government agency that I work for went through massive restructuring. The entire senior leadership team disbanded and it left the workforce in a state of disarray.

I was successfully managing a province-wide project at the time and it was making great strides. However, the executive sponsor left and the project was nixed.

There was a ton of ambiguity. I was in my twenties and my job was everything. That project was the first time I had ever led something completely by myself. I had a team and I was dedicated to it with my blood, sweat, and tears. After the project was nixed, I was left feeling like my efforts were futile.

My dad has worked in government since he moved to Canada in the 1970's. He's seen the rise and fall of various political parties and the changes that ripple through an organization.

Unless you've worked in government, you really don't know how political it gets and how slow things move. It's the nature of the work.

So I decided to talk to my dad about my feelings at work. I wanted to find out his experiences of working 30+ years in the public sector and any advice he had for the feelings I had at the time.

He told me that throughout his career, he has gone through at least 5 leadership turnovers and the new people all have the same agenda: to prove themselves, to make a difference, and to leave a mark. Some succeed and some fail, but ultimately it doesn't matter.

His sage advice to me was, "Do what you can and do your best. You can only do so much. It's not worth losing sleep over. You have to learn to let go when it's time to let go."

The next day at work, I changed my mindset. As a government employee, the work is a marathon, not a sprint. The motivation isn't financially driven. It is people driven. I came to that realization with the help of my dad and I am grateful for initiating that conversation with him.

This is the next step: Figure out WHAT you want to talk with your parents about. To improve any relationship requires conversation and communication.

If your relationship is like mine with my dad, you could start small. 

I knew asking him for advice about my job situation would be a neutral start because we share the experience of working in government. Plus, Asian parents love giving advice (even when we're not asking for it). Regardless of whether his advice was useful or not, I had the opportunity to know him better; hence, know myself better (the WHY). It just happened to be useful.

Some questions to ponder:

What do you and your parents have in common? Sports? Food? Movies? Ask them why they like a certain team, type of cuisine or movie genre.

My underlying philosophy about people is that everyone is good at something. What is one thing you respect about your parents? What is one thing you admire about them? Their work ethic? Their ability to persevere? Their ability to get the best deals on everything? Ever wondered how they're able to do what they do?

Or maybe you want to find out something from your childhood that only they would remember? A specific incident? Ask them how it was taking care of you.

What is it about your parents that you've always wondered about? Maybe it was that weird night when your mom left and didn't come back until the next day?

What do you want to know about your parents? How were they when they were your age? What are their life lessons? Who were their biggest role models?

What is it about yourself that your parents would be shocked to find out? What assumptions do they make about you?

What do you want to share with them? What is something you've been keeping a secret for a long time and want to share with them? Maybe you can confess that little white lie you've been keeping since you were a kid...that you weren't actually at Sally's house for a sleepover but was at the movies with a bunch of older kids?

Think of one thing you want to talk to them about, craft your key messages and what you're hoping to get out of the conversation.

Click for Step 1 (Why?)
Click for Step 3 (How?)
Click for Step 4 (When?)
Click for Step 5 (Who?)

So Readers, what do you like to talk to your parents about? What kind of conversations do you have? Do you have older children? Do you guys do small talk? Or have deep, meaningful conversations?

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