My Tiger Dad

Sanhsing Yi

Stubborn, shy, unsociable, and thrifty were these negative words that were commonly used to describe my father. When I was young, I felt embarrassed that he is my father. 

I had never heard of love of education when I was a kid. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, our family had another member. My younger brother was the pivot of my parents’ lives. And the school courses became harder and harder. These reasons made my grades regress. So my tiger dad spanked me strictly. As a result, I was distant from him because I hated and feared him.   

During middle school, I started to study English. Reading English lessons out loud every morning was his law and order. But he also set a good example by always listening to radio English lessons twice a day. It is an unforgettable experience. The radio voice was like the 6:00 AM alarm clock’s ringing to make me wake up. 

Sometimes he told me his story, in order for us to avoid making the same mistake and to cherish the present. He said he was forced to be a soldier without choice when he was 18 years old. The battle went badly, so he and the troops retreated from China to Taiwan. In the helpless situation, he often used the rest time to go to the cram school and stood outside to learn because he had no money to pay the tuition fee. For saving money, he never dined out. Even though he came from a poor village where there was no education institution, he firmly believed that studying hard is the only way to create his future. Eventually, patience and perseverance helped him achieve his academic goal and become a dentist. This is a normal but true story about my dad. I always keep thinking that if I were him, how could I roll with the punches like him to get through a lot of tough times. 

I will remember forever the day that I told him about my difficult financial situation. My penny-pinching dad gave me the money immediately. Instantly my heart was full of thanks because he had been saving the money bit by bit. I, getting older, slowly realized my father’s love ultimately. For the family, he was willing to decrease the cost of living and sacrifice himself to help us. 

Stubborn, shy, unsociable, and thrifty, these adjectives were used by somebody to describe my father. They had never known my real dad. Indeed, even I did not know him before. So, I deeply regret misunderstanding him until I became a father of two children. I missed a lot of happy times with him. In my heart, he was a gentle and soft giant. He did not show his love daily, on the contrary, he was always considerate of my feelings without saying a word.    

Drawing of cat on hind legs with paws raised
By Sanhsing Yi


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My Tiger Dad Copyright © 2022 by Sanhsing Yi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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