My Father’s Wisdom of Knowing When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em

On parent-child interactions, what the child took away from the father’s wisdoms, passing down the legacy, an ideal, translated…

My father is an experienced, older generation farmer, he’s elderly now, immobilized these days, and had stopped working the fields for over a decade, but his wisdom and experience were my consultant, as a farmer.

Recently when I’d asked him, if I needed to irrigate the land as the rice was about to become ripe, he’d told me the story of “knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em”, it was an enlightening lesson.

He said, that over two decades ago, there was a family, Cheng, his rice grains are already ripened and ready for harvest, and, the machines were sent into the fields.  The operator of the machinery told Cheng that it would be best to harvest when the weather got better, then, a week’s worth of rain followed, causing him unable to go out and harvest, and, the plants all got blown over, soaked in water, and started budding, the four months worth of hard work was lost overnight.

My father told me, actually, the rain was still manageable, he couldn’t started the harvesting.  Later on, a lot of the villagers used this tale as a lesson to teach their children, as soon as the grains are ready for harvest, start harvesting.  But, this still relies on the conditions, like awhile ago, when the weather forecast foretold of strong rains, this caused panic in the older generations of farmers, and so, they’d harvested before the grains are fully grown, and they couldn’t get high enough prices for them, and the rice that got made, were easily crushed, and it didn’t taste that great either, the farmers lost a lot.

My father told me, that the weather in June and July is unpredictable, so, we should know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, without any hesitation.  He said, “The grains from the first planting season would be mature from the center to the side of the field, the second season’s, from the side to the center, and, it would be no problem, for the grains to grow completely, so, so long as the husks are hard when you bite down, that means that in three to four days, they would be ready.”

When I stood in front of the first season’s planting, with the golden field before me, all the hardships we’d had for the past couple of months had been forgotten, and, all the hard work paid off, I was filled with a sense of achievement.

When I sat in the living room, discussing with how the harvest will e ready with my father, both our hearts were filled with joy, he rarely went out to the fields to check anymore, but, as he’d talked of the business of planting, you’d see his eyes light up, as if he was returned to his younger days, when he was still able-bodied and working in the fields.

I will carry forth my father’s spirit in planting, to keep watch over my family’s farm, this, is my responsibility as his son.  And, this, made me, really proud, to call myself a “farmer” too.

And so, the son is affected by the father’s attitude, and the father managed to instill the right kinds of values in the son, which the son will carry forth in other aspects of his own life, not just in planting the rice grains too, I’m sure.

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Filed under Education, Expectations, Lessons, Life, Observations, Parenting/Parenthood, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Values

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