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We are constantly told the importance of having a good relationship with our family, respecting our parents, our siblings and relatives. May it be at school, at camps, at conferences, this element has always been injected in the minds of the youths. Talking about this, I have had the privilege to be a keynote speaker at one of the National Youth Seminar organized by one of the leading spiritual groups in Malaysia in 2002. The topic of discussion generated much controversial issues with adolescents. However, what was eye opening was after the session, I had a long queue of youths wanting to see me to discuss their personal problems. What was more surprising was 80% of them complained of their sore relationship with their parents and they wanted to know the solutions. Talking to these young people transported me back in heydays when I was in the university!

I remember that day vividly in my mind when I went back home for the weekend when I was in first year in the university. After the weekend, my dad sent me to the bus stop where I was to meet a few of my friends to board the bus to Penang. Before the bus left, I kissed my dad goodbye. I suddenly became the center of mockery for my friends. They had a good laugh. How can an undergraduate kiss goodbye to his dad?? He’s a grown up!! Though, I was very irritated with their mockery, I was kind of humiliated with their constant mockery. But, it was a good experience because only then did I discover that many students hardly communicated with their parents. They basically call their parent only 2-3 times a month – when they were short of cash! Not all, but quite a handful.

For someone who comes from a close-knit family, my old folks have always been my pillars of support. After many semesters, many of my university friends got to know my parents and the close rapport I have with them. They always told me how they envied me because I could relate issues with my parents. My only advice to him or her, which I give to many of the youths till today is that, someone has to break the ice, and why don’t you be the one. It won’t cost you anything. In fact, you’ll find yourself more attached to the persons who are most dearest to you – your family!

Recently, my mother had a stroke. It was an episode I could not come in terms with. I was so “broken and down”, and it was the hands of my dad that reached out to his little boy that pulled this professional young man together. He always told me, to be strong, and face all tribulations. Though, I have heard it many times from nursery to primary, secondary to university, his constant encouragement will always be an antidote to my “down” moments. Though, I am a young professional sitting in my corporate chair today, but in my dad’s eyes, I will always be his little boy.

Good relationship with family members is just not a principle that one advocates. It is a practice that many should value. To have a good relationship with your family, you can face many obstacles in your day-to-day life. Many adolescents find themselves entangled in a stressed lifestyle because there are not able to communicate with their family members and they find it not able to be having a close relationship with their families. It is just not hype to relate to your dad or mom!! Corrections…Social standards are not set by your peers or your neighbors. So, do not draw the line with your family because of the fear of ridicule by peers. People do come in terms with good family relationships. In fact, it is very much looked up upon by society. Remember, you will always be mom and dad’s little darling at whatever age!!!

Kamal Saravanan Kenny
INTEYO Club Advisor
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