Come Home, My Child (2023), directed by director Jasmine Chinghui Lee, is a film with rare depth. The content records Mama Yang’s thirty years of service to lifetime prisoners, and explores the issues of family ties and immigrants imprisoned in the United States. As a professional counselor and an educator in intergenerational and intercultural relationships, after watching the movie, I hope to share the following three aspects from the perspective of grief processing and community connection.
Be More Patient and Understanding
Although everyone experiences different levels of loss and pain, everyone faces it in different ways and takes different lengths of time to deal with it. In addition to listening with empathy and understanding each other, we can also give each other more patience and respect. For example, Mama Yang wanted to get closer to her granddaughter, but she always felt rejected and sad. Years later, when they were able to sit down and communicate openly, Mama Yang realized that her granddaughter had always loved her, but the granddaughter just needed more private space to deal with the pain in her heart. Due to the different ways in which Mama Yang and her granddaughter faced sorrow, misunderstandings arose and caused more misery.
Find New Meaning for Pain
Each person’s pain has unique value. When we find new meaning for suffering, it gives us a new identity as a “wounded healer.” When we have experienced pain, we can be more sensitive to the pain of others, and it is easier to gain the trust of those who suffer. Suffering is a key pre-arranged by God, which can open doors in the hearts of suffering people and bring comfort and hope to those in need. Mama Yang was forced to separate from her parents at the age of twenty-four, and she later lost her husband and two sons, so she could sympathize with the pain of the prisoners – long-term loss of freedom and the inability to live with their relatives. Over the past thirty years, she continued to write letters to this group of forgotten people to share God’s love. Not only did she become a “wounded healer,” she also established profound mother-child relationships with people who were not related to her by blood.
Small Personal Contributions Can Bless the Community
In the movie, it is mentioned that many prisoners with life sentences repeatedly attempted suicide because they lost hope in life. But the sharing of one of the prisoners who had communicated with Mama Yang moved me – when the pandemic was severe, he worked hard to make masks every day, hoping to help even a little bit! Although he was a person ignored by society, he still saw others’ needs. This allows me to see that when an individual experiences love and finds meaning, it is possible to generate motivation in life even in an extremely limited situation, and such an individual can become a blessing to the community.
Over the past two decades of service, Presence has strived to bring hope and connecting skills into communities. We provide three main types of training: (1) Empathetic Group Facilitation Training: building empathetic listening and facilitation skills, (2) Healthy Dialogue Training Program: helping immigrant families communicate across generations and building effective teamwork with youth workers, and (3) Presence Life Planning Curriculum: holistic mental health prevention and promoting a balance between work, life, and mental health.
In fact, after the pandemic, interpersonal relationships and mental health cannot be ignored. We need to eliminate the stigma of mental health among Chinese people, learn to deal with negative emotions, actively face various challenges in life, grasp hope from God, persist in kindness, and practice loving ourselves and others. I sincerely hope that you can become an ambassador of love and hope!
Author: Dr. Agnes Ip
Presence Hong Kong Limited is a non-profit organization that has supported Christian and family values since 2012. We aim to raise up a new generation for the cultural mission — equip individuals and families to bridge the cultural and generational gaps and to live a unique life with wisdom. Copyright © Presence Quotient®. Should you be interested in posting this article online, please indicate Presence Quotient® and the author. If you wish to publish this article in print, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come Home, My Child Screening Tour Press Conference was held at the Herald Community Center in the Greater Los Angeles area on Jan 23. The film director Jasmine Lee talked about her journey to make this creative work. San Gabriel City Vice Mayor John Wu, former Walnut City Mayor Eric Ching, Presence Quotient® founder Dr. Agnes Ip, and other guest speakers all shared their thoughts and supportive comments after watching this movie. “Walls keep you in, but love sets you free” – with love, prison walls and generation walls are no longer barriers.
YouTube Intro: https://youtu.be/3RfN-UMk3ZM
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