I visited my dad this weekend, and I haven't seen him in a while, but hanging out with my dad reminds me that sometimes, having Asian parents can be trying. It's often said that you can never really get along with your parents until they treat you as an equal, and your relationship changes from person who runs your life into one of friendship. Once you're friends with your parents, that's the first time since childhood that you can really love your parents again.
With my mom, this is easy. She understands that I have my own life now, and every now and then, she'll say something like, "Oh, you're going to make more money if you specialize. You should do endocrine! I love my endocrinologist. He's really smart like you! And when are you going to give me grandchildren?" She doesn't tell me what to do anymore. She doesn't harp about paying my bills or any of that. She lets me live my life, and I love her for that.
My dad, he has a hard time with that. This weekend, he told me that I should pursue further academics, and I should get more advanced degrees. This is a little difficult, since the only more advanced degree than MD would be if I picked up a PhD. That won't happen. That I can deal with. Then he started telling me how to be a doctor. That's pretty much intolerable.
After going to school for 4 years of undergrad, another 4 years of med school, and now into my 2nd year of residency, I am familiar with how to be a doctor. And any advice of how to be a better doctor I'm not going to take from someone who isn't a doctor himself. He told me how to talk to patients. I've had classes, lectures, standardized patients, and real life experience on how to be a doctor. It's too much to bear sometimes, trying to have someone tell me what to do when I'm far more expert in the matter. He might as well have been telling me how to manage diabetes it was so far out of his realm of expertise.
Truth be told, my mom does something like this every now and then, but it's not motherly wisdom, but a nurse's perspective. "Be nice to the nurses, because we like nice doctors." It's her professional advice. And it's not an order or edict, but something a mom says, along the lines of eat healthy and don't get too stressed out.
I imagine that the hardest part of being a parent is the knowledge that at some point in time, your kids grow up, and they don't see you as their mentor anymore. They've found others who they now emulate and seek advice from. That must be tough, but it happens, and after that, you can't go back. It's a lesson in life that I've come to accept, but I'm sure that if I have kids, I'll probably do the same thing.