It is really an amazing fact that a girl all of a sudden decides to leave her familiar surroundings and the family she has grown up with and moves so willingly to a totally unknown environment to live with people she has hardly interacted with. How much courage she must have to face such an ordeal I cannot fathom but I salute her for her strong will and determination to face the uncertain future with a smiling disposition. Would we ourselves dare such an adventurous journey through life? I doubt.
However instead of welcoming the daughter-in-law with open arms and fortifying her courage with words of welcome and encouragement, we try to mold her to our way of thinking and behavior and interpret her unwillingness to stubbornness and immaturity. As if it were not enough for her to adjust to a new surrounding, she has now to face the shallow wisdom of the know-all members of her husbandï¿½s family, who do not tire of constantly reminding her how backward and uncivilized she is. And yet, amidst all this opposition and oppression, the daughter-in-law weathers the storm bravely and tries to weave a dream of happiness that she had thought about prior to her marriage. She may be lucky to get a supportive husband, but the man himself is torn between the family members he grew up with and the new family he must create. This then is the continuing dilemma for the husband and the daughter-in-law must navigate her course of happiness through clever artistry, mature wisdom and pleasant demeanor. Shall we salute her again?
However in all this conflict of emotions and behavior, one central point is totally missed in most families and a golden opportunity lost. We have an occasion here to enrich our family values and tradition by allowing new ideas and new thinking of the daughter-in-law to pervade and infiltrate the existing atmosphere of her husbandï¿½s family. Here is an opportunity for two different backgrounds, traditions, way of thinking and behavior to enrich one another and produce a third superior way of living.
The daughter-in-law brings with her and her upbringing new ways of looking at situations, new responses, new patterns of behavior and we should let these blossom, interact with the existing environment and prepare ourselves to learn new methods and thinking that the daughter-in-law brings. A new input in the form of the daughter-in-law has been provided to upgrade our thought process and we should take full advantage of this unique situation. She brings with her values of her own past family and this can only enrich our life and mode of behavior.
An opportunity offered to take advantage of; instead we devote ourselves in finding her faults and criticizing her unwillingness to change to our old way of thinking. We cannot accept the fact that being so young, she can still be far superior to us in bringing new vitality and energy to a decaying family atmosphere.
This then is the grand opportunity lost and the daughter-in-law gets molded and crucified on the alter of stability and tradition. Progress is at a stand-still.
And this we call happiness! For whom?