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Making Your Mother Cry - Time to give Back to Family.

I've made my parents cry more times that I'd like to admit. I wasn't an easy son to raise and I'm very grateful for my parents putting up with me. Even until this day it's hard for me to truly communicate with my parents so I try to do it through actions more than words...but tonight, I summoned the courage to say what was on my mind and it made my mother cry. But instead of the usual tears of disappointment or anger...for the first time, it was because she was proud and not because I had let her down or gotten into trouble as I've done so many times in the past.

I called to tell my parents that I wanted to surprise them and do something nice, I had paid their property tax for them. They've been in the same house for so many years it hasn't gone up by much but I know it's still a financial burden on them. But turns out, that wasn't the surprise. I had done it last year when my dropshipping stores first started doing well, so this year wasn't as big of a shock, it's what I told my mom next that triggered it.




My Dad: 



My dad believe it or not is almost 70 and my mom...well, she'd kill me if I told you, but she isn't that much younger. They both immigrated from Taiwan when my sister was just a baby and I was still yet to be born. As a young boy, I had always told my mom that one day when I get older I'm going to give her $300 a month and take care of her.

That never happened, I think it was just a random number I had made up in my head and said it when I was still too young to even have a job and had honestly completely forgotten about it until now.

We grew up poor but it was never a problem as my parents were both hard workers and always had multiple jobs. That was until my dad injured himself at work my last year in college. But due to his pride and upbringing he refused to sue the company even though he clearly would have won due to their negligence. He worked in a shipping warehouse his since moving to the U.S. and warned the owner for weeks that they were stacking pallets too high and it was unsafe. His boss told him that they knew it wasn't within regulations, but they were overstocked and had to do it anyway. Well, those pallets ended up crashing down and landed on my father.

I was 8 hours away at college in Southern California when I got the call from my sister in hysterics which made it sound like my dad had died. I was devastated and was 8 hours away with no idea what was going on. Four hours later  I found out that he's alive but would never walk again. I immediately started thinking of ways to remodel the house with ramps so he could still live there. I guess it is in my nature to think of ways fix things instead of showing emotion. 

During the next call when I found out he was both alive and able to someday walk again, I was so relieved that when I spoke to him, I was cheerful and made it sound like it was no big deal. I think it came off to him as I didn't care and for the first time in our relationship he felt like I was truly a bad son. This is how bad the communication has always been in my family and it stems from us speaking different languages.

Even after all of these years, neither of my parents speak English fluently. They've gotten comfortable shopping at Asian grocery stores, watching Taiwanese Soap Operas on TV and living in a very Chinese neighborhood in San Francisco. I've never gotten that good at speaking Mandarin as I've never used it to talk about anything other than if I've eaten already or if I'm okay. Luckily things have settled and my father retired a few years ago and lives off of a small amount of retirement income, but mainly from collecting rent from the tenant that lives in our inlaw apartment. 


Me and my dad at my cousin Johnson's wedding.

My Mom:



Even though she should have retired years ago, my mom is very social and outgoing and I knew she'd hate it if she had nothing to do. So even though since last year I've been wanting her to retire, I never said anything because she's only working part time as a waitress at a Japanese restaurant and seems to enjoy it. But today she told me that her leg has been having problems and she had to go to the doctors for "shots" even though I have no idea what that actually means.

If you think you've been a hard child to put up with, take a listen to 2Pac's Dear Mama song and aside from selling crack rock and my mom being pregnant in jail which didn't happen, this song pretty much sums it up the way I feel about my mom: 






Showing Appreciation: 



The first thing I did was look up online when their property tax was due and figured out a way to pay it online. 

Last year when I did it, neither of my parent's believed me and made my sister call me to confirm as they were scared to miss the payment and have their house repossessed. 

This year I made sure to send them the payment receipt so they wouldn't have to worry. 





Showing it Monthly: 



As soon as I heard my mom was no longer enjoying her part time work and it became enough where she was taking pain killers to be able to work the long hours and stand, I told her to quit her job. I told her that even taking ibuprofen isn't good for her long term healthy especially if it's masking her pain and making her stand when she shouldn't be.

The biggest hurdle was trying to communicate this in a language that I hardly speak. Even though I'm technically fluent in Mandarin, when it comes to important topics, feelings or emotions, I'm completely lost. 

I summoned up whatever words I could piece together and told my mom to quit her job and that I was going to cover her lost wages. In Chinese the phrase sounds more like "i'm going to help you add (lost) money" and somehow sounds more polite. But before I could say another word, she started bawling with tears away from the phone. At first I had no idea what was going on as almost assumed something else completely unrelated had happened. I've never heard her cry this much before. 

My dad had to pick up the phone off of the floor and take over, but I could hear her crying in the background. He told me that I didn't need to do it and it wasn't necessary. He told me that if things got bad enough he would have been the one to tell her to quit, and money wasn't that tight. But here's the thing, with my family, I never know. They never tell me what's actually going on. Maybe it's the culture, maybe it's their pride, but I hate being in the dark. 

Then all of the sudden I remember the promise I made my mother almost 20 years ago, way before I could actually afford it. And even though it's not a ton of money, I knew it would show them that I'm finally a man and that not only could I take care of myself, but also help them if they ever needed it. So I went onto my bank's website and setup an automatic payment of $1,000 a month to be sent to her from now until the end of time.






Honestly, even though it's not a ton of money, especially compared how I've been fortunate enough to be taking home recently and compared to what I made last month. It was still a difficult decision as I knew it was a lifetime commitment. Paying their property tax was easy. I had the money in my bank and it was just a once off thing. This decision is $12,000 a year and who knows if my income will continue to rise or it could all collapse. 

But as soon as I clicked "Set it up" I knew that I now have a responsibility, not only to myself, but to my family.

I sincerely hope that everyone reading this is in the same position where they can help their parents out, and if you are, here's a gentle reminder to do so. I honestly didn't they they would react as strongly as they did. So even though it doesn't' seem like a big deal to us to them it's the world.



If you're not in this position yet, it's another goal to write down to achieve. I really try to share everything I do openly and honestly as I know how big of a difference the help of a few people key people have made in my life. A big thanks to Anton Kraly for being the man who first helped me get my business started, I really do have to thank you for making all of this possible today. 


Best wishes to everyone and your family,


Johnny "FD" Jen


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  1. Awh this post made me cry. Thanks for keeping it real.

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    1. Really glad my post touched you, i'm really happy to be able to share it!

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  2. Replies
    1. Finally growing up into one at least!

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  3. This is what we work for...to live life and look after each other. ubuntu....I am because we are...Congratulations and keep up the good work

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    1. Thanks so much for the nice comment Robert, you're absolutely right, this is why we work so hard, to take care of ones we love.

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  4. You're a great man and an example. Good on you Johnny

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  5. awesome, Johnny try to do like you do :)

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    Replies
    1. Keep up the good work yourself as well!

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  6. Johnny, man you are a true inspiration!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Tony, glad to be able to help inspire!

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  7. Respect! You're a solid guy, Johnny.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks I appreciate the kind words Nefer!

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  8. I love this post Johnny, you have a great heart, thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Peter, I really appreciate it!

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  9. The best thing iv'e read in a long while. cheers!

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    1. Thanks Clinton, really glad to be able to share it.

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  10. Freaking goosebumps over here, dude.

    "It was still a difficult decision as I knew it was a lifetime commitment."

    I can taste the absolute thrilling fear of that commitment. Of looking at your parents on the cliff and saying "jump! I've got you."


    Wow. I'm tearing up. Can't wait until it is my turn.

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    1. I couldn't have said it better myself Quinton, you captured my sentiment, thoughts and fears exactly. But i'm glad I was able to say jump, I've got you. Put in the work and you'll be next, I believe in you!

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  11. Johnny you are my idol. this post made me cry.

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  12. You are doing a great job there Johnny, Wish you and your family all the best in Health, Wealth and Happiness.

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  13. Hey Johnny, I discovered you while Youtube searching for cheap apartments in Chiang Mai. That led me to ecomm through your online content, then to Anton's drop shipping course, then my first online store which has started to move product, a second store is in the works. I am currently touring Taiwan, then off the Chiang Mai down the road to devote energies to drop shipping ecomm full-time. Just wanted to say thanks to a genuinely decent guy for making me aware of and walking me through the process. That moment you make your first sale is one I will never forget!

    Pat

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    Replies
    1. Hey Patrick, that's awesome you found me through those random videos! That's awesome you are starting to make sales with your 1st dropshipping store already! Big congrats for that!

      I'm so happy to be able to help guide everyone through the process that has worked for me, as I wish someone would have done the same!

      Out of curiosity where were you when you made your first sale?

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    2. Was sitting on the couch in Whistler, Canada when I got the notification on my cell phone. Started dancing around the room declaring my impending empire. Housemates at the time thought it was hysterical.

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    3. That's AWESOME Pat! Hysterics are the first step of freedom =)

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  14. Respect Johnny, you are a true inspiration.

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  15. Very inspiring Johnny, it's an honor to get to know you better. :)

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  16. Made me cry too! This has always been one of my goals for when I'm successful enough to afford it.

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    1. Make it happen! It's not only 100% possible but absolutely worth striving for! Just don't put it off for 20 years like I did and forget about it!

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  17. Oh Johnny- I like never post comments on ANYTHING! This store made me tear up and now my throat's sore!! thanks! no really, this is such a lovely thing that you did- I hope one day I'll be in the same boat and will be able to return the support to my family. xx

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    1. Hey TG, I'm really honored that you took the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot to me hearing from my readers as I put so much into these posts that I really want to know it is making an impact.

      I really believe that we should all be in a position where we can help our parents in their old age as they have helped us growing up. Let's all make it a goal and something to work towards and I truly believe it's possible for every one of us to achieve it.

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  18. Love it Johnny, it seems we have a similar relationship with our parents, as we think the same way, more solution orientated and this sometimes can feel cold to others.

    Same goal for me and it's on the top of my list for my mum. That's the reason I will work as hard as possible over the next years to make this dream come true, so I have enough when she reaches 65. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration.

    Best wishes to your parents!

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    Replies
    1. Hey thanks Marius. I agree that our solutions based logic can come across as not having empathy but as long as we mean well right? Best of luck in your journey to take care of your mom as well!

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  19. Inspiring stuff Johnny! Way to go. I would love to be able to do this for my parents as well. :)

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Please take a second to log in before you comment. I've turned off the anonymous commenting option. I'm open and respectful with you, please be the same back. Stay positive, trolls and spam comments will be automatically deleted.

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