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Hi. My name is Parcsen and I’d like to tell you my story.

My parents filed for a divorce when I was just ten years old. Suddenly, my world was turning upside down. The atmosphere at home grew tense. We were not as happy as we were before. I blamed my father for the misery we all suffered. I continued to blame him for the next twenty years or so.

Although we lived under the same roof, my father and I were distant, hostile but not violent. (He was much stronger than I.) We spoke not more than 2 sentences a week. He was the typical Asian parent: stoic, firm, unemotional, disciplinarian, responsible and hard-working provider. He imposed the same outlook to life and life principles that he lived by: study hard; find a good job; provide adequately for your family.

This episode in my life was more traumatic than I had imagined. It “messed” me up terribly. The therapist that I saw weekly for nearly a year said that I had “lost 10 years of my life.” Although I was only in my late twenties, I spoke, acted, and dressed older than my age.

At age 34, I started to reflect on my relationship with my father. Tried as hard as I did to recall the reason I was angry with him, I couldn’t. My father was the breadwinner of the family and was at work most of the day. My mom, however, was a homemaker. So, being closer to my mom, I blamed him for causing the problems in our family. It was that simple and silly.

Realizing my error, I made arrangements to meet with him. He came over to my home. I served him tea – the Chinese way – on my knees and asked for his forgiveness. He forgave me. We hugged and chatted for a while. We kept in touch after that – only once a year at Chinese New Year.

At age 54, I began to realise that my estrangement with my father has deprived my children of a relationship with their grandfather. There was a sense of urgency for me to bridge the generations, to do something so that my children could know their grandfather. As I reflected on how well I knew my father, I was shocked that I could only list five facts about him. Ashamed, I arranged for another meet up with my father to listen to his-stories.

It wasn’t hard for him to tell me about his childhood, school days, and working life. I believe that fathers desire to tell their children their stories, if their children were interested to listen. Hearing those stories evoked empathy within me. I know understand why he said the things he said to me, why he fathered me the way he did. It was because of the experienced he had growing up and the way he himself was fathered. I also saw the similarities between us, and today I see the same similarities in my son. I am glad that I had gotten to know the man who is my father. This is only the beginning. Due to age (he is 84) and health and mobility issues, meeting up is a challenge. I hope to have a fuller picture of his life while it is still possible.

From this lesson, which was forty-four years in the making, I see the 3 things that must take place between a father and his adult son. It starts with the adult son recognising his father by learning about his-stories. In doing so, you will find it easier to understand him, and forgive if necessary. That’s when reconciliation takes place. That reconciliation makes relating with one another possible again.

Recognise. Reconcile. Reconnect (or Relate).

Do it while you still can.

Here are 7 Steps to help you reach out to your Father.