Q : 
With the protests, riots and violence in HK and the US, it’s a challenge for me to let go and stay peaceful. My children have different opinions and one doesn’t communicate with the rest of the family. She’s a heart of a Stone: The US way of upbringing, my limitations have driven us apart. Having a harmonious relationship and communication become impossible. How can I let go and find INNER PEACE?
【 Question from 】 San Francisco, US

Fr. Francis : 

People are entitled to their views, even when the views are wrong. And for complex issues like the situation in Hong Kong, who can really tell which view is right, since there are so many layers and so much is unclear?

Two people can be very different in their views, can vehemently argue with each other, but they don’t need to be enemies. There is a difference between arguing with you and arguing with your views.

If I argue with you, I am saying that I am right and you are wrong. It becomes personal and it denies the legitimacy of the other having his or her own view. Winning my argument becomes personal, since it forces me to identify with my views.

But I am more than my views and you are more than your views.

If I trust you as a good person, as someone who matters to me, then I cannot argue with you personally, but must trust that there are good reasons for your beliefs, even when they seem wrong to me. My arguing with you is therefore only a debate with your views, and only out of trust, out of the desire to understand where you are coming from. I can (and I have) enter into a heated debate with someone, that in the eyes of the bystanders we are all but ready to kill each other, and afterward promptly be buddies as before, with a renewed understanding and respect for the other. We know that we could enter into such a debate because we firmly trust each other; we are not afraid to express to each other what we really believe. I am safe to express my deepest convictions with this person because I know he or she loves me.

So my questions to you are: do you trust your daughter? She may have a different view, she may even be wrong, but can you trust that she can have her own views, and could have good reasons for holding them? Can you respect her for that? And can you let her know that despite the difference in views, that you love her and respect her views?

If you can do that, both in words and in action, then the ball is in her court. It is up to her to realize that she needs not identify herself with her views, that her family may differ with her opinions, she is still loved and accepted by them.

So, when you say “giving up”, there are indeed certain things you will have to give up, but certain things you must not. You must give up the idea that you are right and she is wrong, that she needs to come around to your view. But you must not give up on her, and must learn to affirm her dignity and honour to her own conviction. In fact you should be very happy that she has a conviction and has the ability to express it. Someone who always goes along with your views is someone you don’t know. He is either too afraid to tell you what he really believes, or he believes you are incapable of ever understanding him. There is no real love there. You certainly don’t want your loved one to be either contemptuous or just a pushover, right?