Growing up with a gambler father has taught me a few valuable life lessons and principles that I now hold onto.
1) Gambling ruins everything. Everything as in, the people close to you. Your family. Your life. That is basically everything. I should know because it ruined mine.
2) Never gamble because chances are you will lose more than you will ever win. Screw movies and stories that show you otherwise. I have always been bad at math. So I do not get how the probability of winning and losing works, and how people somehow figured out a way to win at gamble. But for me, there is always a chance to lose. And instead of gambling your money away, why not you spend them on proper investment or even on things that matter like, buying that toy for your kid. Or better yet spend the time you wasted on thinking about winning strategies, on your children. Take them out. Travel. See things. Be a normal parent.
3) Always hide your piggy bank. You never knew when someone is going to sneak into your room, take it away and then well,-just say goodbye to all the loose change that you have saved up all these months.
4) In short, never gamble. Occasional Mahjong and card games with family and friends is fine. Do not gamble outside of your circle because that is how shit gets out of hand. You lose all your money. You start borrowing them from anyone that can offer you fast cash. You lose some more, you borrow more because to you there is always ‘a chance to win. The time is now. I am sure of it.’ And then you lose, again. Even if you do win, I know it is almost impossible to stop because again, it is always ‘one more time.’ So, what happens next? You are in a shit ton of debts. You lost your job. People are hunting you down. You have got to declare bankruptcy and then just live in hidings. Who else goes through all of these with you? Your family. And then 10 years later, you go on the internet and stumble upon this post by an anonymous writer, and it hits close to home.
No, I do not hate my father, not anymore, so to speak. I used to be so angry at my father. That I never wanted to speak to him ever.
But as time goes by I realised that, he probably had no idea what he was doing was destroying what he built. Maybe all he wanted was to provide to his family. A comfortable life. Maybe he was blinded by greed and short cuts to wealth that he missed the whole point of being a family, he missed the point of being a family means that, we will go through all the bad times with him without him having to gamble for a fortune. He must have missed out the smiles on our faces when he brought us to the park, and just let us run around, played with the slides while him being there watching us. He must have missed all of that.
It took me a really long time to come in terms with this because it has always been easy for me to relate from another person’s point of view, but it was so hard for me to see through his. I did not get why did he do what he did. And why did he choose to deal with the aftermath the way he did. But now, I finally understood that, just because he messed up, does not mean that he doesn’t love us. Throughout all these years, I have also learnt that, I could not change the past no matter how much of anger I had for him. But once I accepted his mistakes and forgiven him, life is not so bad after all. I have grown so much and learnt so much more than what a normal kid could have learnt. I do not hate my father, but I still very much despise what gambling does to people. I have accepted the things that I went through, and I always use them as a reminder to not let my future kids experience any of it.
So thank you, father. For teaching me things in a way that you never intended to.