Stepan ParunashviliTwitterBooks

Why change

I recently watched a Georgian movie on Netflix. In case you’re not Georgian, this is like seeing your school on national television — oh wow, a Georgian movie on Netflix!

I watched it, and it was pretty heart warming. The mood overall in the movie was perhaps skewed negative, but it definitely captured a slice of life in Georgian culture. The ever-joking discussion, the love of family, responsibility, and all of its’ consequences.

I saw a moment in the movie that struck me, and I wanted to dig deeper. In the beginning of the movie, you meet this family. The son is playing video games, while the father walks over to a closet to grab something. As he opens the closet door, a musical instrument falls out. Rushing, he mutters “I spent all this money on you to practice this instrument, and here it is, stuck in a closet”.

I cracked a smile, because that is such a stereotypically Georgian saying. Well, maybe it’s common internationally too — I could certainly see a grandma in Taiwan saying the same thing.

It’s innocuous, but I think this contributes to a dangerous lesson.

“Hey, I did this for you, I expect you to be doing something for me now.” When a child hears that, what do they take away from it?

They take away guilt — their parents sacrificed for them, so now it is their responsibility to play that instrument. They don’t play for fun, curiosity, personal interest, or drive anymore. Just painful, dry, guilt and responsibility.

I can almost hear someone say — “Well, why not? It is their responsibility”

Compare a person driven by guilt, with a person driven by playful obsession. For one every minute is drudgery, for the other it’s flow. Even if they achieve the same result, one of them will certainly have a different experience. Responsibility has a place, but using it as your main drive is playing life on hard mode.

I think one of the best things my parents did for me, was to not pressure me unduly about going to University. In Georgian, the word for “education” is “enlightenment”, so I imagine how hard it was for them to see their son “unenlightened”. If they had just said “look what we did for you, how dare you throw it all away”, I am not sure I would have the heart go with my path. Yet, they didn’t say that — they supported me, and even sent me emergency western unions in China without too many questions. They put a wind behind my sails with their belief, and that allowed me to go deeper, and discover what’s play for me, which is work for most.


I wrote this essay, in reflection of Mother’s day today


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