A love letter to ‘The Greatest Dad’ – Robert Chaen
“If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent.”
~ Bette Davis
There were a few times I hated you in my early immature life, especially when I didn’t get what I so badly wanted.
I lashed out at you, thinking you were unreasonable and unloving. Years later, you revealed to me that those times when you had to say “no” to me were the most difficult times for you.
You were deeply hurt by my insensitive, harsh, rebellious remarks. I was too selfish, blinded by my own judgments, and could not see it from your perspective at all.
I have since realised that what I hated in you is actually what I hated in myself – the “mirror effect”. The hatred is a direct reflection of my inner state of mind and judgments, not yours.
Ironically, underneath the both sides of the coin of hatred and hurt is actually… love, and that we care deeply enough…
I have not given you any grandchildren. However, I’m a father like you – but a different type. As a coach, my “children” are my staff, graduates, readers, listeners, fans and clients.
I talk about you to my “family” of thousands. It’s funny that they know more about you, but you hardly get to meet any of your “grandchildren”… this is your legacy, Dad.
Dad, I ask for your forgiveness for the all times I had hurt you, rejected you, yelled at you, and my destructive moods.
I forgive you Dad for the times when you’re not physically there in my growing years because you were a hardworking travelling Salesman – making an honest living and making ends meet. Actually, there is hardly much to forgive you.
Dad, I admire you for your courage, fairness, love, resourcefulness, sacrifice, for being street-smart, and a corporate whistle-blower of your boss, a ruthless, corrupted director of sales & marketing.
You are truly a man of honour and principles. You provided well for our family, needs and wants, our education, the list is endless.
You had a tough life as an adopted child, neglected and left to fend for yourself. You struggled with poverty, carried heavy pails of water daily from the community water tap to your neighbours for a few cents, only to have the precious little money taken by your foster parents.
But you’ve done excellent in your life. You made sure that we did not have to experience the tough life that you had experienced.
You are my hero. I’m proud to say that you and Mum have shaped my life well – by polishing the raw diamond in me to a brilliant one.
Your companionship and endless love for Mum and celebrating your 65th wedding anniversary this year is truly incredible and exemplary.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me in times of trouble, and helped me when I needed it most. You reminded me that “blood is thicker than water”.
Dad, please let go about worrying about your children and grandchildren. It’s not your fault what had happened in our lives. We’ll take care of ourselves with our life choices we make. We’ll find ways to stay together as one family.
We are blessed with your longevity, good health at your age, and alert mind…
Be proud that you are “The Greatest Dad” – to us who matter the most.
Love and hugs to Dad
from your loving son,
This is dedicated to the fathers and mothers who have been hated by their children, and to people who have ever hated their parents (you are not alone… it’s 99.9% of us). – June 15, 2014.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.
Update on 17th June 2018.
My father crossed over on Chinese New Year Day on February 19, 2015 at 12.03am. He was born on June 21, 1921 in Gopeng, Malaysia, died in Hong Kong while undergoing medical treatment.
Read my article in defunct The Malaysian Insider: Michael Chen Kim Foo: A tribute to an honorable man