After reading Wang Shuo‘s book, To My daughter, I want to share some thoughts on this special day, Father Day. In this book, Wang Shuo explains the origin of his family, about the history of his parent’s family, and even more, introduces the history of China in a humorous way. He completed his book with several dairy-style letters to his daughter as the ending.
Wang Shuo is a kind of controversy writer in China. Considering his personal experience, this book is more like a self-disclosure and reflection on his past life. He doesn’t really tell her daughter what she should do, but simply takes his own experiences as examples to show her how this society looks like.
Sometimes, the way of a father expressing his love is very different from the way a mother does, and his attitudes also varies with to a daughter or a son. For example, my father will help me analyze the situation when I complain about my work, then provide some advice if necessary, while my mother acting more like a listener at that moment. It is very interesting that father and mother play different roles in a family.
The relations between parents and their children is largely influenced by Confucian philosophy in Chinese culture. They will remain a close connection socially but keep a sense of alienation ideologically. This usually happens in traditional families and previous generations, like the relationship between my father and his parents. The generations after 1990s are having a more open attitude to communicate with their parents. For instance, I want to have more discussions on sharing each other’s sense of values with my parents and enjoy the process of debate. However, this is something I barely see in the interactions between my father with his parents every time. Or maybe they do have, when I am not there.
This book shows me a new way of communication between a father and a daughter. Some audiences treat this book as a failure of Wang Shuo’s writing career. I partially agree with this point if you criticize it from a literature perspective. If you want to learn how to educate your children or hear some legendary stories of himself or with his daughter from this book, you may get disappointed. He doesn’t say anything about that. However, I am so impressed by the way he tells the story and the content of the stories he tells. He doesn’t treat himself as an absolute positive and powerful father like my father will do, instead he shows his anxiety and self-examination about life to her daughter. This is the most special and valuable part I found from this book. I personally admire this attitude.
People will tell you how great a father could be like this video showed, but none of them will let you know the fact that your father is not always invincible.
At last, through this video, I will give my wishes to every father, for being our superman. Happy Father’s Day!
(Feature Image: One of my father’s Calligraphy works)