When I was a boy, it was the beginning of rapid economic growth of Japan. Everything sold well as many as they made. The harder people worked, the more their income increased. It was such an era. Ordinary people came to own a television and an electric refrigerator (Before that, people used a simple ice box to cool something, haha).
To buy things, workers stayed late at work, and so did my father’s co-workers, who lived in the company housing like my family. But, unlike them, my father didn’t work overtime. He stopped working at the regular closing time around 5:00 pm, and our family, with all the members, sat at the table for dinner every day.
Because he didn’t gain overtime money, we couldn’t afford a television or an electric refrigerator unlike other families. I was a child and visited the house of a friend to watch TV. I felt so ashamed for that, haha. I was a bit angry with my father for not working overtime and for our poverty.
About 15 year later, I got married. In the new family setting, I took charge of every day’s cooking. And 7 more years later, I became a father. Then, further a few more years later, I became a stay-at-home dad. Our family sat at the tale for dinner when my wife came home.
Like my father, I chose the life to think of dining above office work. Is it a generational chain? A chain of poverty haha? I can say it’s a generational chain of rich humanity.
I think the peace of mind brought by sitting at table with family and experiencing the happiness of ordinary life greatly affected my personality building. I was a child with so-called ‘learning difficulty’ and poor student at school. I had anxiety disorder, adjustment disorder and addiction to alcohol in adolescence. But I recovered depending on my resilience only, not medical treatment or social support. What gave me the resilience was the above habit of eating with family, I think. I am still thankful to my parents for this.
Of course, I don’t mean simply eating with family in a same place. It is meaningless if you don’t share a sense of sympathy and a pleasant and comfortable time without any power controlling by parents.
What nurtures resilience will be the sense of high self-esteem that is cultivated by the experience of being loved and respected. I really think so.
I wrote long today. As I am such a person as above, I add a function something like family to my therapy sessions. And my favorite role is ‘mother’…
Originally posted on June 27, 2017